Police Say Former Realtor Cons Victims Out of Thousands of Dollars
(Memphis) A former realtor whose license was revoked by the state has been arrested twice in the last two weeks. Police reports state he took thousands of dollars from two victims for houses he was supposed to sell them.
Between the two arrests, Featherstone is charged with two counts of theft between $1,000 and $10,000, and two counts of impersonating a licensed professional.
In the latest case, Billy Featherstone Jr. was arrested late Thursday for taking almost $10,000 from victim Cheryl Dean.
Dean said that she knew Featherstone from when he sold her the first house she and her husband lived in 12 years ago.
She called him again in 2010, hoping he could find her a new house.
She set her sights on a five-bedroom home in Southeast Shelby County. Featherstone had given her a tour and helped her sign an offer.
It wasn’t until Thursday, Sept. 13, 2012, that Dean realized the house was never for sale.
She knocked on the door, and the homeowner answered.
“He says, this house was never up for sale,” Dean said. “I said well [Featherstone] brought me in, and I saw this home. And he looked at me, and he said, ‘You’ve been in this house?’ I said, yes sir. I can tell you what color your furniture is and everything.”
The homeowner told Dean that he also knew Featherstone, because Featherstone sold him that very house about 12 years ago.
According to the state of Tennessee, Featherstone’s real estate license was revoked in 2011.
To check whether an agent is licensed, go to www.verify.tn.gov. Enter the words prompted on the screen, then click “Enable License Search.” Then enter the person’s first and last name, and their profession.
If the agent has a very common name, one can call the Memphis Area Association of Realtors at (901) 685-2100 to verify the person’s license.
In this case, Dean didn’t do that because she trusted Featherstone, after he sold her a house more than a decade ago.
But now, “I’m very angry. But you know, I can’t get stressed out about it, because I’m not the type of person to hold a grudge.”
Still, she is out almost $10,000 that she may never get back.
“Every two months, I would give him $2,000 here, $2,000 there, $1,000 here. And altogether, I gave him $16,050.”
After her last payment in late 2011, she kept getting excuses from Featherstone about the house needing more repairs or needing a new appraisal.
She finally found a different house she liked, and got $5,000 back from Featherstone to make the new down payment. But she never received the rest.
Dean then saw Featherstone’s face on the news in early September, for doing the same thing to another woman.
“I’ve been conned,” Dean said. “We sacrificed everything, everything for Billy Featherstone Jr., and he took all our money.”
Carol Lott, the president of the Memphis Area Association of Realtors, said an agent not having a license is the first red flag.
Also, Lott said, “You might pay for a home inspection, you might pay for an appraisal, that type of thing. But you don’t make any ‘payments’ until you own the house.”
She said that home buyers have a right to see the appraisal, which will list all the repairs needed. Home buyers should also be present at the home inspection.