Victim speaks out after being scammed by Central Indiana real estate salesperson

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The real estate license of a Central Indiana real estate salesperson and business owner has been suspended, but the suspension could only be temporary. Now, one of his alleged victims spoke to Fox59 about her experience in hopes of warning others.

“He told me to just come to his office and fill out an application, that it wouldn’t be a problem, that he could put me in a home,” said Bille Rackemann.
However, Rackemann said all David Garden, owner of Garden Homes Realty and Star Homes, Inc., did was take her money.

She said she paid first month’s rent for a home on Alabama Street, but when moving day came, he told her the house wasn’t ready.

“I actually went by (and saw) the people and stuff still in there,” Rackemann said.

She said he continued to make excuses about why the home wasn’t ready and why she couldn’t move in. Rackemann said she doesn’t think Garden ever intended to rent the home to her.  When she asked for a refund on the rent, she said she was told they’d already cashed the check.

“He likes to use bible terms and Christianity a lot to try to pull people in to make himself sound God-like, so people think he’s an honest man and they want to do business with him and he’s the complete opposite,” Rackemann said.

That’s one of dozens of complaints about David Garden and his businesses.

The Indiana Attorney General’s Office has been investigating Garden for about a year.

Deputy Attorney General, Gabrielle Owens said their petition for emergency license suspension involved 30 counts with complaints, ranging from earnest money issues to allegations of him attempting to commit mortgage fraud.

“We also had allegations regarding abuse of the bankruptcy system and having folks file for bankruptcy in order to abuse the automatic stay provisions of the bankruptcy process to forestall the foreclosure,” Owens said.

Many victims claim they’re out thousands of dollars. But why did it take the Attorney General’s Office so long?

Owens said it had to do with the vast number of complaints and proving the facts.

“We wanted to make sure that we investigated them all thoroughly so that when we brought the action that we had a complete picture of the variety and volume of the consumers that we feel he has victimized,” Owens said.

Fox59 reached out to Garden at his home and his office, but he never responded to requests for an interview.

The most severe punishment would be Garden would have his real estate license revoked and a $1,000 per count fine, totaling $30,000. He could also have to pay everyone back.

“We will be seeking restitution for the harmed consumers. That could then be part of the board’s order and they could prescribe a time period by which he had to pay that money,” Owens said.

“I’d like my money back, but ultimately I don’t want to see him do this to anyone else,” Rackemann said.

She said she wants his businesses shut down.

“If he doesn’t have this scam to go on anymore, how is he going to survive? He might have to get a regular job and he might have to see what it was like to not just be able to take people’s money and live off of it,” Rackemann said.

Garden’s fate will likely be decided at the Indiana Real Estate Board meeting March 8, Owens said.

If you feel you’ve been taken advantage of by David Garden, Garden Realty or Star Homes, Inc., you should file a complaint right away. You can file a complaint online.

21 comments

  • MeatPlow

    Relator (/rɨˈleɪtər/, female relatrix (/rɨˈleɪtrɪks/) is the legal term meaning a private person at whose relation or in whose behalf an application for a quo warranto or mandamus is filed.[1] The relator appears as one beneficially interested, but the action is maintained on his behalf.

    or was the Headline supposed to be "Realtor"? ya lost me.

  • jerry

    this man is evil he is on craigslist using the name BRENDA JONES and robert garden and he never planned on fixing the main drain on 1417 and 1419 alabama

  • HELEN

    We "were" home owners having a hard time and just needed a little adjustment to our mortgage. In the end he turn our mortgage into a short sale, lied about publishing open houses to sale the home and brought only people who didn't even get approved for a loan in the amount needed for showings. We even had people knocking on our door looking for him because his signs were in our yard. "I" did all the foot work! Him and his lawyer offered us HALF our money back, but in the end unfortunately all David did was take our money along with the knob to our front door.We contacted the Attorney Generals Office and filed our complaint "4" years ago with a ton of evidence and they said he did nothing wrong. I found out later a friend of mine tried to rent a home located at 1544 Finley Avenue, Indianapolis, IN 46203 from him and he ripped her off too!! Now that house sits empty with warning signs all over it from REC. WHY OH WHY is he still allowed to so many folks wrong whom are already down on their luck????????

  • Kristen

    We were scammed by this guy too! Luckily we only lost a few hundred dollars cash & filed bankruptcy on another "loan" that he told us would help us in purchasing this home. This is so sad and he really talks the talk.

  • MM66

    He's not the only realtor to try to scam or slime his way to a closing, earnest money, or money that should be rightfully the buyers. Realtor's need to have an ethics check and the State of Indiana needs to ensure this happens. The State of Indiana needs to upgrade the standard contracts to protect both sellers and buyers that do not depend on a money hungry realtor. Do NOT deal with realtors that aren't with a respectable larger realty company. Do NOT let the realtor tell you what YOU what to do. Realtors work for you, not the other way around. Do NOT listen to realtors when they tell you something can be fixed, it's not mold, etc…ALWAYS get an independant inspection from a Licensed Inspector that was not referred to you by the realtor. If you don't feel good about the home, DO NOT let the forked tongue of the realtor trick you into buying a home you won't be happy with. Do NOT sign a PURCHASE agreement unless it specifically says, "ALL EARNEST MONEY TO BE RETURNED BY SELLER IF YOU (the buyer) ARE NOT HAPPY WITH THE INSPECTION." Realtors learn this in real estate 101 and any realtor that does this is a slime bag only trying to make a quick dollar. And remember one thing, What comes around, goes around…3 fold.

  • no name

    its sickening what people do to each other… you cant trust anyone and the ones who are honest never get a chance cause of idiots like this one and many others… angers me that there are so many dishonest people in the world.. what makes someone think to do such malicious things to another? what happened to conscious feelings?? wonder what this man's family thinks of him running their names in the mud… he should be made to pay everyone back.. jail time does not give justice to the ones who lost money…

  • martinstucky

    Start with the Realty board in Indiana., They are worthless and do not look after the best interest of the people of the State. It is a fox looking after the Hen house situation. You can file a hundred counts with all the evidence and they will not so much as slap his wrist.
    It is time for a revolution in State Government.

  • kik

    My husband and I actually had a run in with this man. He was going to rent us a home that he and his family was moving out of supposedly. He said that it was for rent and then had us come to his whole in the wall ofiice on us31 and fill out and app and pay him for the credit/background check on us. Then after weeks he never got back with us and would not return our calls and when he finally did he told us the house was never for rent but was for sale and said the check had already been cashed and there is nothing he could do. I requested our money back for sure. Yea it was only 50 dollars but it was the point. We were a young couple with a son and another baby on the way moving back to out home from FL. We were on a time limit finding a place. So not only did he take us for our money, he also wasted our time! Anyway it took for my mother inlaw to act as our lawyer and walk in there with us face to face and threating to investigate and press charges just to get out money back! This man should be put out of work!

  • Elaine Andrews

    I am a victim of this scam. I am still battling this man in court please wish me luck. I gave him 1,950 and he will not pay me back for the house I never lived in!!! The man is a crook and people please don't be deceived by this man he is dirty!!!

  • R HARRIS

    this is so sad the house next door to me is for sale by this man
    and in the five years iv lived in my home i have seen over six familys have the dreams of
    being home owners shaterd i try to warn them all but you know how it is to top it off every
    person that he has scamed we thay have to move then he says thay stript hose are damaged
    it so i thank he should have to make thangs right with them i have herd them all talk about
    how there gona do this and that planting flowers just to get dreams crusht it hurts me and
    iv never lost money to him

  • Ieesha Turner

    I am a victim of David Garden w/Garden Homes Realty. My husband and I was trying to purchase a home from this man about 2 years ago. We have filed a complaint w/the Attorney General's office and we are out of $2200 and not house to move in. We were homeless for a few months while trying to get back on our feet after giving up all of our money, we had to move in w/my mother in law until we were able to get back on our feet. David Garden is the Devil and he tried that scripture crap w/me and my family as well, he seemed like a fast talker. GO TO http://WWW.RIPOFFREPORT.COM and search David Garden. The exact same stuff they say on there is the exact same things he's said to my husband and I. He is a criminal and I WANT MY MONEY BACK!!!!!

  • Guest

    I feel badly for all of you, as this man is evil. But please don't think that all Realtors or real estate investors are like this. The vast majority do want to help you find a decent place to live. Follow your gut instinct; if the situation doesn't feel right then walk away. There are many good folks out there who will help you.

  • MM66

    Go look at MIBOR…it's full of INCORRECT information. Like a home's sq footage, a realtor included the garage in the sq footage. When did a garage become livable space? I once met a realtor that intentionally put the wrong amount of the selling price of a home on MIBOR as a lure. I'm telling you some of the realtors are worse than a used car salesman. One other thing…there are a lot that talk under the table. The selling agent and the purchasing agent making their own deals behind your back. NEVER NEVER TRUST AN AGENT. It's pretty sad the crap these unethical agents try to sell an unknowing buyer…so get more informed. The only person really having and living the American Dream is the realtor making thousands and thousands on commissions by unethical practices.

  • The Ex Mrs Petaway

    Everything that comes out of his mouth is a bold face lie, and I believe he believes his lies and that he is above the law, he is not to advertise while his license is supended, but he still has his sign up on the roof at 516 mills ave, advertising away…..He snubs his nose at all laws and rules and has absolutely no eithics at all. And then he will act like he is a victim and that someone set him up. The facts are the facts and the AG's office has the facts……I am a victim of his lies, greed, piggish games

  • Concerned Citizen

    If you look at where Garden Homes Realty was(is) located, 516 Mills Ave, Indianapolis, IN he has now changed the sign to Five Star Homes which will allows him to continue these scams under Craigs List and other sites to continue the scams under another name now. Futhermore, he has probably used monies that he stole to start up this new company name, transfer funds, and prey on the unsuspecting victims.

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