WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah – Television shows depicting big profits from flipping houses are fun to watch, but as two Utah women learned the hard way, you have to trust the right people.
“He said you should get into flipping houses,” said Juliene Kafentcis of her friend Bret Cartwright who approached her with the idea. “I was like okay, I could use a little extra money for rent.”
Kafentcis said she lent him thousands of dollars in cash to buy a home, and he turned about a $10,000 profit for her in return.
“Little to no risk type of deal,” said another woman who claims she profited off an investment with Cartwright too.
So, when Cartwright approached them again, both went for the opportunity.
“He said we’ll do it exactly the same way we did it the first time,” Kafentcis said.
She invested over $60,000 into multiple flips, trusting Cartwright. She said he provided proper documentation, and she felt everything was secure and official. However, shortly after that round of investments, she said things started to change.
“He kept putting us off for 2 years,” said the other victim.
“I went to friends of mine who work in the industry, and they found out three of the properties had sold,” Kafentcis said.
Despite the properties selling, both women claimed they never got money from those sales. They think Cartwright took off with their money.
“Not even close,” Cartwright defended himself from his front driveway. “It’s not at all accurate. That’s now how real estate works,” he explained.
He pointed out that he was close friends with everyone involved and that if he had mal intent, it wouldn’t make sense to destroy personal relationships. Additionally, he claims he is a victim too.
“The rug was absolutely swept out from underneath all of us; that’s absolutely what happened,” he added.
Cartwright said he’s the middleman between investors like Kafentcis and Hard money lenders. He says it’s the hard money lenders that pulled the rug out.
“These houses were foreclosed on by the hard money lenders. They had trouble with their bank credit lines, and forced them into a position where they had to foreclose on me at the time.”
However, Cartwright was booked with multiple felonies, though they were eventually reduced to one charge of pattern of Unlawful Activity. He’s scheduled to appear in court for sentencing on June 25.
“I just don’t want there to be any more victims,” Kafencis said of why she came forward.