INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.– In February, Fox59 told you about a Central Indiana real estate salesperson whose license was under emergency suspension. However, Fox59 discovered despite the suspension, he is still attempting to rent and sell homes, and more people claim they have been ripped off.
The Indiana Attorney General’s Office petitioned for the suspension of David Garden’s license due to allegations of bankruptcy abuse, mortgage fraud attempts and other issues. In their documentation, customers made various complains, including allegations that the homes they were supposed to move into were infested with roaches and smelled of feces. More than 30 people said they had been taken advantage of.
Julie Corcoran claimed she was recently taken advantage of by Garden. She said Garden promised her everything, if she agreed to rent or buy a home from him. She did not have good credit or a job, but he told her she could still get a home.
“He said ‘Ok that’s cool, I’ve got jobs. You can come work for me,’” said Corcoran said. “Immediately he was talking to us about hiring us for work without meeting us.”
Corcoran’s story involving Garden is very similar to the story of Billie Rackemann, who Fox59 told you about back in February. The difference is that now, Garden’s license is suspended.
“Obviously, the commission wants to protect the public health and safety,” said Jeff Collins, staff attorney for the Indiana Professional Licensing Agency. “That’s why they’ve approved this agreement to suspend his license and as soon as something is in front of them to take action. They will take action as quickly as they can.”
However, it seems Garden is getting around the suspension.
Corcoran became suspicious when he made outrageous claims.
“’I’ll pay to get you guys a mattress. I’ll buy you guys furniture. I’ll write you a check,’” Corcoran said about what Garden promised her.
Corcoran started recording conversations they would have. In one of the recordings, Garden said “If you buy a house from me I’ll give you a free car.”
Then, Corcoran said she saw the Fox59 report. She realized it wasn’t likely Garden was going to follow through on any of his promises.
“I looked online and that’s when I saw your previous thing in February about him. I was like ‘OK, he’s a fraud,’” Corcoran said.
He also claimed to have an “in” with the banks, as indicated in another recording.
“They’re going to loan you a thousand dollars just because I say so.”
So, since his license is suspended, why is Garden still offering to rent and sell houses?
According to Gabrielle Owens, deputy director of the Attorney General`s Licensing Enforcement and Homeowner Protection Unit, anything that would require him to have a real estate license to do is not allowed.
However, according to Indiana law, if he has an “ownership interest” in a property, he can advertise, rent and lease that property, Owens said.
A disciplinary hearing with the Real Estate Commission is set for June 5 to consider the allegations made against Garden. They’ll have several options.
“One would be permanent revocation of Mr. Garden’s license,” Collins said. “They’re also would be available to suspend his license for a specific amount of time.”
They can fine him up to $1,000 per violation. They can also order restitution for victims, but they have to let him present his evidence first.
Corcoran wants something done now.
“I want him off the street. I want him stopped. I want him where he can’t hurt anybody else or take anybody’s money,” Corcoran said.
Although what Garden is doing right now might specifically be breaking the suspension of his license, Owens said the Indiana Attorney General’s Office does still have civil authority over him. If they can prove harm was done, they could file civil action before his June 5 hearing.
Owens also stressed, if you’ve been taken advantage of, they need you to file a complaint. They can only take action when they know the specific info of each case.
To file a complaint, click here.