BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. - A South Florida real estate agent allegedly duped two home buyers into thinking they had purchased a residence but instead pocketed their down payment and monthly payments, according to an arrest report.
Rosa Elena Martinez, 56, of suburban Boynton Beach, is facing a charge of larceny between $20,000 and $100,000 and was released from the Palm Beach County Jail on Wednesday after posting a $5,000 bond.
The victims told Palm Beach County sheriff’s detectives that they had provided Martinez with an initial down payment of $30,000 and had been sending monthly payments of $640 to $850 for two years for a home they believed they had purchased in Boynton Beach.
The victims said they made payments from June 2013 to June 2015. They also put about $70,000 into repairs at the home, bringing their total loss to $115,240, according to the report.
Referring to texts between the victims and Martinez, a detective wrote in the report that “it is clear that the victims believed that they were purchasing the house and that Rosa was making excuses as to why the closing had not yet occurred.”
PBSO said the monthly payments made by the victims went to Easy Offers Now LLC. An investigation revealed that Martinez was the only signer on the account and that she withdrew all the money deposited. The company has since been shut down.
The owner of the Boynton Beach property told detectives that he was behind on payments on the home. so Martinez arranged a lease-to-buy option with the victims. The property later foreclosed, which was apparently unknown to the victims.
Martinez told investigators the deal with the victims was an “investment opportunity.” She promised to show detectives documentation of her claim, but then skipped several scheduled meetings where she was supposed to produce her evidence, the report said.
State records show that Martinez’s real-estate license is active and runs through Sept. 30, 2019. Those records show that Martinez is employed by True Blue Realty Inc., which is based in Lake Worth.
Barb Lilly, who operates True Blue, indicated Friday that she was unaware either of Martinez’s arrest or the extent of her involvement in the alleged larceny. Martinez works as an independent contractor for the company, Lilly said.