Crooked estate agent bilking Trastevere buyers
ROME – Potential property buyers in the Eternal City are being warned about a crooked estate agent operating fraudulent activities from a high-visibility AREA franchise store in the fashionable area of Trastevere where American and other foreign expats traditionally have purchased homes in the past.
Italian Insider has heard disturbing reports from readers about how unscrupulous agent Luca Ruvolo rips-off unsuspecting purchasers from his base at the Realty Store Trastevere on the Viale Trastevere.
In at least one case smooth-talking confidence trickster Ruvolo fast-talked a lady customer into signing a highly unfavourable sale and purchase contract including terms that were impossible to meet, because he promised that he could sell her apartment and obtain as much as 100,000 euros within one month, totally unfeasible because of the way house purchases are structured in Italy.
Ruvolo also persuaded his unsuspecting client to write and give him undated cheques for 5000 euros and 15,000 euros respectively. He promised not to cash the cheques without the permission of the customer but reneged on his pledge, meaning that she lost her 5000 euro deposit while he is still demanding he be paid the further 15000 euros ‘commission’ in advance for a totally fraudulent deal. Ruvolo disregarded a direct request by the lady's lawyer not to cash the 15,000 euro cheque since he had done nothing to earn it and had caused her to lose her deposit, a substantial amount of her life savings.
Ruvolo was not available for comment when Italian Insider visited his office Monday and he did not call back as requested to explain his dishonest activities.
A lawyer familiar with the case said “I have seen many dubious estate agents but never one as evil and unscrupulous as this, people must seek legal advice before signing up for what are presented as attractive bargains but in fact are dangerous frauds.”