Dewey Family Scammed Out Of $25K House Payment

Monday, July 25th 2016, 8:39 pm
By: News On 6

The Mondays thought they'd bought the house of their dreams.

But just before moving in, the family found themselves in the middle of a real estate nightmare.

Lacey Monday and her husband live in Dewey with their four-year-old daughter, Addison. The couple recently decided they wanted to expand their family, so naturally, they bought a bigger house with more bedrooms, just a few blocks away.

They paid in full — $25,000 of their savings.

"We sent the money, she gave us the keys, we closed," Lacey explained. "We went over there and did a lot of work."

The Mondays got to work cleaning, painting bedrooms and mowing the lawn.

Only a few days later, though, the Mondays found themselves in limbo.

"We thought it was ours," Lacey says. "Come to find out, it wasn't."

The Mondays' title company Oklahoma REO called, saying they never got the payment, and the seller was angry.

Lacey says it was the family's realtor who discovered their email correspondence with the agent, who sent them directions on how to wire the house payment to the title company, had been hacked.

Instead of wiring the money to Oklahoma REO's account, the Mondays learned, their money had actually gone to scammers out of Malaysia. 

The hackers had seen the email about the wiring directions, then manipulated the form. Essentially, the scammers changed the listed receiving bank account to their own before sending the directions on to the Mondays.

A Chinowth & Cohen spokesperson says the realty company is not at fault, although Lacey claims it was their company's agent whose email was intercepted. Both Chinowth & Cohen and Oklahoma REO tell News On 6 this has never happened to their clients before.

Lacey says she double-checked with the realtor before following the emailed instructions, but none of the companies or banks working with the family are taking responsibility for the lost payment.

The family wants to hire an attorney but has no money left.

"I've cried myself to sleep so many nights," Lacey stated. "There's got to be something someone can do — they can't just let this happen."

Scott Coulson, owner of Oklahoma REO, tells News On 6 he is working with Chinowth & Cohen to try to get the Mondays' money back. Because the details haven't yet been confirmed, Coulson could not go into detail.

Meanwhile, Lacey says the bank that owns the Mondays' new home is threatening to charge the family daily for extending their contract.