The Indiana Real Estate Commission suspended the licenses of Indy-based real estate salesperson David Garden on Wednesday.
Garden, as president of Star Homes doing business as Garden Home Realty, is said to have misused company money in a way that could be considered conspiracy to commit mortgage fraud, failure to remit earnest money and license renewal fraud. Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller’s office reached an agreement with Garden to temporarily suspend his license for 90 days.
The licensing board will set a hearing date to consider the 30-count licensing complaint filed by the Attorney General’s office last year and will determine what the appropriate disciplinary action will be.
“The suspension against Garden helps ensure consumers are protected from questionable acts while the formal complaint against Garden is being considered by the board,” said Gabrielle Owens, Deputy Director of the Attorney General’s Licensing Enforcement and Homeowner Protection Unit. “Since filing the original licensing complaint, 16 new consumers have come forward alleging they too had been ripped off by Garden. Our office believes it is in the best interest of the public to suspend him from operating until a resolution is determined.”
One complaint says that a customer paid $1,000 to Garden Home Realty to place a $23,000 bid on a HUD property located in Indianapolis. The customer later found out that HUD only requires a $500 payment. The buyer later paid a separate broker $500 and placed a bid on the same property for $21,000 – which he won. The customer never received a refund from Garden.
In another case, a customer paid $1,000 and made an offer to purchase a commercial property from Garden. The individual’s offer was not accepted and his payment was not returned.
An Indianapolis couple signed a lease and paid a $1,000 security deposit on a rental property owned by Garden. According to the petition, the renters were told the home would be remodeled and in “showroom condition” upon move-in, but the property was “infested with roaches” and the carpets “smelled of dog urine and feces.” The couple decided not to rent the property, but demands for a refund of the deposit were denied.
According to the filing, Garden renewed his real estate broker’s license in 2009 without acknowledging that criminal charges were pending against him. In 2011, Garden renewed his license again and failed to acknowledge he had pled guilty to Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) with a prior OWI.