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Woman scammed immigrants out of $110,000 in home-buying scheme, police say

Woman scammed immigrants out of $110,000 in home-buying scheme, police say
Maria Teresa Flores-Morales, 39, was arrested on suspicion of scamming potential home-buyers. (Parlier Police Department)

A 39-year-old woman accused of scamming immigrants out of more than $110,000 in a home-buying scheme that lasted more than a year was arrested last week in Fresno, police said.

Maria Teresa Flores-Morales of Fresno told people who were unsure how to go about buying a home that she could help them with the purchase. She found houses that were in pre-foreclosure and showed the potential buyers the outside of the property while it was still occupied, according to police in Parlier. Detectives with the department in this small town near Fresno made the arrest.

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Police said Flores-Morales took the buyers’ down payment and said she would purchase the home for them but then disappeared with their cash. This scenario played out several times between September 2017 and February, police said.

Authorities began investigating the scam more than a month ago. Detectives on Friday served a search warrant on a home in Fresno and took Flores-Morales into custody on suspicion of grand theft and theft by false pretenses.

Police are looking for other possible victims. Anyone with information is being asked to call Det. Hernandez at (559) 464-6600, Ext. 131.

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