CRIME, POLICE + COURTS

Utah company ordered to pay back millions after alleged real estate scam

Feb 16, 2022, 6:43 PM | Updated: Dec 30, 2022, 11:21 am

(Photo: Getty Images)...

(Photo: Getty Images)

(Photo: Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Department of Commerce and the FTC reach a massive settlement with a Utah business that reportedly scammed thousands of people across the country out of over $100 million in a real estate scam.

Real estate scam

Investigators say Zurixx LLC and its executives, Cristopher Cannon, James Carlson and Jeffrey Spangler had thousands of victims all across the U.S.  They say the company would use telemarketers and high-pressure sales tactics to convince people to attend a “free” or low-cost seminar. At the seminar, they would learn more about flipping houses.  However, company officials reportedly lied about how much money their victims would get in return.

Utah Department of Commerce Executive Director Margaret Wooley Busse said, “Almost none of them saw any kind of return.”

Busse also says the company would convince their victims to buy into a more expensive real estate seminar. Then another, and another and so on.  They also would allegedly encourage investors to open new credit cards, promising the profits would cover their debts.  She says the scammers even had celebrity endorsements from Tarek and Christina El Moussa from “Flip Or Flop” and Hilary Farr from “Love It Or List It” to make the seminars seem more credible.

“[They] use high-profile celebrities to endorse their work and say, ‘Hey, you can have a lifestyle like us if you just participate in this,’” Busse said.

(Utah Department of Commerce Executive Director Margaret Wooley Busse explains the details of the alleged scam. Photo: Paul Nelson)

Scams like this do tremendous harm to the economy, according to Busse.  She says this hurts the confidence in other, legitimate investment opportunities.  She also says fraudsters like this get help from other scammers.

Busse said, “They often operate off of lists that have been sold to them of people that have already been caught up in other schemes that are maybe more vulnerable or gullible.  They already, kind of, know that these are a fresh target.”

Lawsuit settled

The company settled a lawsuit with the FTC and the UDCP to have them pay $12 million dollars. They say it is “pennies on the dollar” compared to the $111 million reportedly taken in the real estate scam.  Officials say this case had been ongoing for a long time. By the time a settlement was reached, the vast majority of the money was already spent.  However, Busse says this settlement sends a strong message to would-be fraudsters

She said, “This is, by far, the biggest settlement in our knowledge, in my knowledge, that the Department of Commerce’s Division of Consumer Protection has ever done.”

The defendants are also permanently banned from marketing or selling any real estate coaching programs in the future.

Read more:

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Crime, Police + Courts

Emery County's Search and Rescue Team and Department of Public Safety officials worked to rescue a ...

CARLYSLE PRICE, ksl TV

Three rescued from Zero Gravity slot canyon

A family was rescued from the Zero Gravity Slot canyon by Search and Rescue team after one man was “wedged between canyon walls."

3 hours ago

A man convicted of defrauding investors in a Utah smartphone scheme will spend nearly five years in...

Tammy Kikuchi

Utah man convicted of fraud for cell phone scheme, must repay $10 million

Chad Leon Sayers was sentenced Monday in Utah's federal court for a cell phone scheme. He will spend nearly five years in prison.

5 hours ago

Toymaker Claude Nile Thacker was killed by a drunk driver back in December 2022....

Lauren Steinbrecher

DUI driver sentenced to prison in beloved Toymaker’s death

The DUI driver was sentenced to 1 to 15 years in prison for the death of beloved toymaker Claude Nike Thacker.

13 hours ago

Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., enters federal court in New York, Friday, July 12, 2024. (AP Photo/Pamel...

Mariah Maynes

Jury reaches verdict in in Sen. Bob Menendez trial

ABC News reported that prosecutors alleged Menendez had been accepting bribes. The jury found him guilty on all counts in his federal corruption trial. 

23 hours ago

RNC Chair Michael Whatley speaks during the Republican National Convention Monday, July 15, 2024, i...

Emma Keddington

LISTEN: Preparing security for an event like the Republican National Convention

What kind of planning goes into security for a major event like the Republican National Convention held in Milwaukee?

1 day ago

Tooele County Sheriff's deputies are investigating a shooting involving a 4-year-old who found a lo...

Pat Reavy, KSL.COM

4-year-old discovered gun, accidentally shot sibling, police say

Police are investigating an accidental shooting in a Tooele County home involving a 4-year-old who found a loaded gun.

1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

A young woman smiles while reading the menu at a lakeside restaurant, enjoying the panoramic view o...

Bear Lake Convention & Visitors Bureau

The best restaurants to try in Bear Lake

Save this guide to the best restaurants in Bear Lake when you need to find a place to dine during your next visit.

Female leg stepping on weigh scales. Healthy lifestyle, food and sport concept....

Health Utah

Sustainable weight loss: the science-backed way to achieve it

Learn more about Debbie's weight loss journey with Health Utah, who have a unique weight loss philosophy for success.

Underwater shot of the fisherman holding the fish...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Your Bear Lake fishing guide

Bear Lake offers year-round fishing opportunities. By preparing ahead of time, you might go home with a big catch!

A group of people cut a purple ribbon...

Comcast

Comcast announces major fiber network expansion in Utah

Comcast's commitment to delivering extensive coverage signifies a monumental leap toward a digitally empowered future for Utahns.

a doctor putting her hand on the chest of her patient...

Intermountain Health

Intermountain nurse-midwives launch new gynecology access clinic

An access clinic launched by Intermountain nurse-midwives provides women with comprehensive gynecology care.

Young couple hugging while a realtor in a suit hands them keys in a new home...

Utah Association of Realtors

Buying a home this spring? Avoid these 5 costly pitfalls

By avoiding these pitfalls when buying a home this spring, you can ensure your investment will be long-lasting and secure.

Utah company ordered to pay back millions after alleged real estate scam