Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Jason Berlin: Real Estate Panther or Punk?


UPDATE: This piece of crap, Jason Berlin, was charged with rape in San Diego on October 21, 2015. Here is the link:

Jason Berlin is a real estate investor and sole shareholder of the corporation Venture Pursuit, Inc. in San Diego, CA. He calls himself the "real estate panther." On his website, he claims to have purchased over 100 properties leading to over four million dollars in profit from "flipping." He portrays himself on his website as being extremely successful, and offers to impart his wisdom to the masses so that they, too, can be huge and wealthy successes. Of course, this comes with a fee of $197.

I am also a real estate investor (on a much smaller scale), and as we know, I am good at separating fact from fiction. So let's take a quick look at the facts to learn a little bit more about Jason Berlin.

Jason Berlin lives in a basement apartment valued at about $250,000. This is fact. Jason had negative income of approximately $14,000 on his 2014 tax return. That is also a fact. So far, I am not seeing the successful entrepreneur Jason claims to be. Are you?

Jason Berlin is also named in this October, 2012 Campus Crime and Safety Alert by the University of San Diego, which you can find here:

The purpose of the alert is to "keep all members of the University of San Diego community up to date with and aware of all ongoing criminal acts." When you scroll down, you will see this about Jason:

Do successful real estate investors have to resort to campus crime?

I have been in contact with several people who will never do business with Jason Berlin again.
One of them stated in no uncertain terms he'd been "burned by Jason & Co."

This leads one to wonder if Mr. Berlin is ethical in his business dealings. He does push the scam artist Tai Lopez on his website.

If you haven't heard about Tai Lopez, you can read this:

I don't know about you, but that's not the type of guy I would be promoting on my website, unless I was a scam artist, too.

So how does Jason make the money he makes? Here's his magic formula, valued at $197:

Figure out what the property you are interested in is worth post-renovation (ARV) by looking at comps on Redfin.
Deduct $28 per square foot from ARV as renovation costs.
Deduct 6% from ARV for realtor commissions and closing costs.
Deduct $40,000 from ARV as your profit.

The amount you are left with is your maximum offer price to buy the property.

Most realtors, when taking offers from investors, will require that the investor view the property before submitting an offer. This is the realtor's way of knowing an investor is for real, and that they understand what they are getting into in terms of the amount of work that needs to be done on the property.  In other words, this is a precaution that weeds out investors who will back out of the deal after an inspection is made on the property, from investors who are all in regardless of the amount of work to be done. However, Jason rarely, if ever, views a property before he makes an offer on it. What he will do, is say his contractor, Sean O'Neill, went to see it for him.

However, there is no Sean O'Neill who works for Jason Berlin. Jason just says that to appease realtors, hoping they will present his offer as viable. Maybe that's why some realtors feel so strongly about never doing business with him again.

After all, no one likes to be lied to.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Would the Real Justin Tredo Please Step Forward: A Scam Out of Texas

How would you feel if you had built a good reputation in your industry, and someone came along and took your name, and subsequently linked your name to a sham company?

Let me tell you a story about how low people will stoop to make a buck (even lower than Tai Lopez).

I received an email from an acquaintance in California who is looking for a new job. In his search, he applied for several positions on One of these was a property management position.

He was answered by a gentleman named Justin Tredo of Axelon Talent Consulting. In fact, he received email after email from "Justin." This made my friend a little suspicious, so I decided to check it out myself. Here's one of Justin's emails:

And here's his bio:

However, and interestingly, this is Justin Tredo's Linkedin profile:

So who is the real Justin Tredo, and which is the real Axelon?

There is an Axelon Services Corporation at 44 Wall Street in New York City. They have their own website,  And, they also employ the Justin Tredo whose Linkedin profile is above.

So what gives with the other Justin Tredo at Axelon?

There is no other Justin Tredo, and that Axelon is a fake. It is a sham recruiting company out of Dallas.

Your question probably is, what's the hook - what's the point in taking this guy's identity and setting up a sham recruiting firm?

That's the real point of this blog. I want you to see just how insidious this scam is, and understand how close this person came to handing over money to the phonies operating this sham company.

First, take a look at the fake Justin Tredo's email above. Do you see the website address? It's If you click it now, you will see that it's non-operational. (It was operational a few weeks ago, until I sent one of my very direct emails to the fake Justin Tredo.)
However, the links in the emails from Fake Justin still work. Here's a screenshot of one of the pages from those links:

Notice that the current openings on the right side of the screen don't have locations. Legitimate position listings should always include locations in parentheses next to the title of the position, so the user's time is not wasted clicking on a position in the wrong city or state.

Another point - why doesn't the domain name have some variation of the word Axelon in it? That was another big clue that this was a scam. No real firm would have a domain name completely unrelated to its business name. That would be absurd and totally contrary to setting up a website for a business.

The next clue is the phone number. Call it: 855-982-1881. It's a hoot. A recorded female voice answers and gives a thirty second speech about how ethical the company is. However, she never gives the name of the company. When she's done, she says that you can dial your party's extension or hit zero for the receptionist. There are no extensions, so you must hit zero. Then, you get hung up on.

Fake Justin's next email was a directive to take a pre-interview assessment test. This, in itself, is not unusual. Many companies/recruiters ask candidates to take tests to determine their knowledge level.

However, this is what's unusual. He also suggested a prep course for the assessment test:

This is bizarre. You don't want to recruit someone for a position who doesn't know their stuff and needs to take a prep course. It's counterintuitive to recruiting. You want the best, most knowledgeable candidate for the job.

When you click that link, you get this:

And so now, here's the point of this whole scam. The scam is to get you to buy a $20 review guide for a position that doesn't exist, sent to you by a recruiter who doesn't exist.

Who does exist? This guy, James Murphy, who owns

Could that be the same "Murphy" as in "Murphy's Review Professional Study Guides?"

The bottom line is, a recruiter should never, ever ask you to purchase a product in preparation for an interview. That has scam written all over it. Don't fall for it.

On another note, I am currently consulting on three sexual harassment cases involving one teacher at a prestigious university in Brooklyn, NY. Among other things, this teacher asked the three female students if he could lick their a**holes. That's what $40,000 a year in tuition gets you these days.

I will keep you posted.