Beware of Buyer(s)

[Editor’s Note: It’s time to repost this as we’re getting some reports of a guy name Michael Lecht resurfacing…don’t work with him. Simple as that. See comments below from local real estate agents for more info.]

Agents at all San Francisco brokerages take note. There are a couple “buyers” out there that aren’t to be trusted:

Please beware of a gentleman who may be posing as a buyer. He goes by Jay Shapiro, is from Chicago, has 2 sons, is starting an international recruiting business in Monterey and is in a wheelchair. He wrote an offer with one of our agents (after a couple weeks of interacting and viewing numerous properties together) but did not follow through on the deposit. He offered a variety of excuses…. lost bags, theft at UCSF, etc. After the buyer began contacting our office throughout the day with complaints unrelated to the purchase transaction, the agent confronted him regarding his seriousness/ability to move forward – he hung up and has not called again.

Oddly enough, that wasn’t the only email we received:

Beware of a buyer with an interest in extremely high-end property, who brags about his assets, claims to have worked for Harpo productions, to be a close buddy of Oprah Winfrey…… He has a story for all occasions, needless to say Harpo had never heard of him. He phoned from a cell phone with a Louisiana number. He fired me when prior to showing him property, I explained that I’d need verification of funds for his $3,980,000 cash transaction.

These are legitimate scams, so if you are an agent in San Francisco, please feel free to forward this link ( to your entire office.

20 thoughts on “Beware of Buyer(s)

  1. Welcome to the real estate world in a weird economy. For those of us that have been in

    the business for over 25yrs. we have all gone through similar experiences. I can

    remember getting into contract with one of these all cash guys, and waiting for his funds

    to wire in from his Swiss bank.

  2. What is the scam other than misrepresenting himself; and obviously a disruption to the selling agent / property.

  3. Eddy and Missionite,

    You ever see that movie (blanking on the title) where they have the people out on the beach and they’re “combing” it with a giant comb? Was it Austin Powers?

    You guys kill me! Maybe “scam” wasn’t the best choice of words. Regardless, agents need to watch out for these types of things all the time for various different reasons…

    Next time, just feel free to tell me and all the agents in the city and reading this blog to harden the f*** up.

  4. There was this guy last year that would schedule appointments to see my listings at the Metropolitan through a different lady realtor every month or so on Friday afternoons. His name was Michael Lecht. Everytime he would show up with different realtor to see the same units and the realtor was always a lady. I always screened my Friday appointments at the Metropolitan to make sure he was not one of them and to warn people something funny was happening.

  5. Lookie LOU, shame on you.

    They have name, we have their number.

    1 800 bite me.

    Only a fool or a novice falls prey to Lookie Lou.

    They smell different.

    PU schooled

    … anon

  6. Jay Shapiro has a criminal record a mile long for many types of fraud.

    He has been arrested in southern california (Riverside / San Bernardino

    area) and in monterey.

  7. These time wasters periodically resurface.Funny how you see them around

    the overpriced,white elephant Sth of Market stuff-never around the vacant

    20th and Sanchez flats w/ 4 car parking.note that these flakes are always

    interested in a hi-end comped lunch.

  8. Just got a call today from buyer,Michael Lecht. It sounded suspicious and practiced so I Googled his name and … low and behold. Be aware he’s active again. His line was, I saw your add in the Real Estate Times.

  9. Just got a call from Michael Lecht. Same thing – saw my ad in the RE Times. Wants to meet on Thursday at 2 at his place on Howard between 7th and 8th. So glad I Googled him! Thanks, Alex, for the blog!!!

  10. Just got a call from this guy yesterday Michael Lecht, THANK GOODNESS FOR THIS WEBSITE, 7/2/12… so glad I googled him.

  11. Michael Lecht contacted me twice this week. I thought he seemed suspicious, so I decided to Google his name and found this site. He claimed to have found my ad in the real estate times, which I haven’t advertised in recently. Thanks for having this info up, very helpful!

  12. Regarding Michael Lecht:
    He contacted me 6+ years ago and wasted my time. He is super creepy and I fired him when an alert came out about a buyer with his name that was using multiple agents (all women). I guess he has a bad memory because I just received a voice message from him from my latest Real Estate Times ad.

  13. This actually a little scary. I suggest he next person who gets this call take down a lot of pertinent information from this guy. Easy to change an alias but harder to fake addresses an phone numbers. Bonus points for a picture.

  14. Oct. 7, 2013: A buyer named Michael Lecht just called me to make an appointment to see a listing that I have. His story sounded a bit sketchy so I Googled him – glad that I did, found these postings. I tried to call him to ask him to come to a public open house instead of a private showing and he has a number with no voice mail. When he called me back to ask why I was calling, I told him that I’d be more comfortable if he would be able to view my listing during a Broker’s Tour or a public Open House this weekend. He got irate and hung up on me.

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