A husband and wife team has been hard at work in Denver... buying fixer-uppers, turning them into attractive homes, and then selling them.
Looking to expand, the couple turned to a reputable website and got the name of a lender.
But that lender turned out to be a crook who's ripped off others.
The alleged victim says, "It wasn't like I got an email and sent her money. It was probably a good three to four weeks prior to her getting any money from us."
The Arapahoe County woman didn't want to appear on camera, but she's sharing her story so others won't be scammed.
She says the lender used the name Lyne Hovis. Hovis claimed to be the CEO of Hilton Financial Colorado, a company which is legally registered with the Colorado Secretary of State's office. Hovis reportedly promised her and her husband a five-million dollar loan for 30 years at six percent interest. For collateral the couple had to come up with $15,000.
Hovis even signed an indemnity agreement... allowing the couple to go after her assets if things fell through.
But after the couple gave Hovis $15,000, they say they never got a dime.
The alleged victim says, "She's just really, really, really good. We feel like we went through everything that we could have done to prove or disprove her legitimacy."
The couple later learned Lyne Hovis is really Helen Hovis. The smooth-talking CEO was living in a Colorado Springs halfway house on probation for two felony convictions for forgery.
Besides Hilton Financial Colorado, Hovis is also registered under Mountain Spirit Investments.
Investigators say last year she took more than $60,000 from consumers across the country.
The best advice... shop around for a loan.
Only do business with a trusted financial institution.
Just because a company's registered with the secretary of state's office... doesn't mean it's legit.
If you're not familiar with a company... see if you can physically visit its office.
In Hovis' case, her companies only listed post office boxes.
Never pay fees upfront unless an appraisal is needed.
Remember, collateral is usually property or cash... equal to or more than the amount you're borrowing. Therefore, fronting $15,000 for a five-million dollar commercial loan is a red flag that something is wrong.