TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Vacant land in Citrus County was listed for sale with a real estate agent without the owner’s permission. The family that owns the property is furious more wasn’t done right away to catch the crook.
Jerry and Christine Penhollow are thankful that when the for sale sign went up in front of their 10 acres of vacant land, Christine’s son, who just happens to live next door, called to notify them.
Penhollow says he called the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office right away, but got nowhere.
“I can’t get answers out of anybody, from any department,” Penhollow said. “They say they’ll call you back in two or three days. Nobody is there to talk to. They’re all too busy.”
The Penhollows discovered their property was listed by Re/Max Champions on Oct. 4. Someone, they say, forged Christine’s name and her son’s name, who is also listed as an owner. They listed the property for $150,000.
Penhollow tells me that when law enforcement heard no money had exchanged hands yet, they weren’t interested.
“The officer said the case is closed because no money was exchanged,” Penhollow said. “No crime was committed. And I’m saying what do you mean no crime was committed? Someone illegally used my name. Now I’m upset at the Citrus county sheriff’s office for not following through. We could have set it up as a sting or something.”
Investigator Shannon Behnken called the sheriff’s office and was told they’d look into this. Hours later, Penhollow said they called him to proceed with an official report and assigning a detective on the case.
Meanwhile, the broker at Remax/Champions tells me Florida law does not require ID when a property is listed. However, he insists the deal would have never closed and no one would have lost money because he’s confident his title agency would have caught the fraud.