Buyers and Sellers BEWARE!
There are several UK expats that have set up a Real Estate scam in UAE using a FAKE company called Smith and Ken. Smith and Ken was once a registered company operating in UAE but shady business practices have caused them to have their license revoked by The Real Estate Regulatory Agency. This can be verified with RERA and the Dubai Lands Department.
Company CEO Ben Smith has fled the country when the authorities caught onto his scam and he will be arrested if he ever ends up back in the UAE. He uses Susanne Adam, Jeremy Bentley, David Kodama, Rebecca Cooper and several other UK expats to continue to run their scam, right here in The UAE.
I agreed to buy a property from them in September of 2013 which "sales agent" David Kodama showed me. I agreed to buy the property but had no idea that the seller listed on the MOU was not even the real seller. The property had been repossessed by the bank during the 2008 crisis.
Jeremy Bentley from Smith and ken Home Loans charged me an additional 8,500 AED to get me a personal loan which he was not able to get, so he gave me the contact details for a competitor who was able to get me the loan. Jeremy ended up cashing my cheque anyway which was supposed to be a deposit, which was cashable only provided the loan is approved. Jeremy claimed that this was a mistake and promised to return the deposit, but weeks later, Susanne Adams (Head of Client Services) stepped in and said the funds would not be returned because they assisted by introducing me to the bank who offered me the mortgage. The wording of the MOU were very transparent and clearly said that the deposit would be returned if the personal was not approved and RERA investigated this matter and ordered Smith and Ken to return the deposit, but my funds have still not been returned.
Susanne Adam (Smith) claimed that my MOU details were a simple mistake on their part and claim they did not realize the property had been repossessed. Once it was determined that Smith and Ken was not able to close the deal, I asked them to return my 10%, but they refused to communicate with me again. I reported the incident to Mr. Abdulla, Senior Investigator from RERA, and he ordered Susanne Adam and Rebecca Cooper to attend a meeting at RERA. They showed up the same day and it was determined that they should NOT be using the name Smith and Ken to conduct business in the UAE. It was also determined that brokers are not allowed to ask for 10% deposits in the name of the company. The 10% deposit should not be cashed until the day of the transfer. In my case, the funds sat in the broker's account where it is still currently sitting today! This is something Susanne had been warned about before and part of the reason why Smith and Ken lost their Real Estate license.
Susanne told Mr. Abdulla that Smith and Ken will return the deposits which total about 130,000 AED, but will keep the commission for putting in the effort which was about 24,000 AED. Mr. Abdulla determined that Smith and Ken was not entitled to keeping the commission since they did not complete the terms of the agreement and was given 48 hours to return the funds to me.
Before the payment deadline date two weeks ago, Susanne, Rebecca and David made several attempts to negotiate the total that was to be paid to me but no evidence was presented to justify keeping any of the funds. On the last day, Rebecca told Mr. Abdulla that Smith and Ken will not return my deposits.
RERA has officially given Susanne and Rebecca until Thursday of last week to pay the funds or be faced with severe consequences. I was told that this can include prison time in the UAE since several laws were broken to scam me out of my 130,000 AED.
If my funds are returned in full, I will update my statement and admit that Smith and Ken made good on their word, but at this point, I am doubtful. Either way, I will continue to ad updates on this site and all other websites that warn the public of these people and their true motives.
I actually found the contact details for Company CEO Ben Smith who established the business in 2008. It turns out that Ben has a "legit" Real Estate business in Los Angeles called Smith and Ken. So far, his US business seems to have a positive name, but I have warned him that public forums and online customer feedback is what US businesses rely on to survive. I have given him until this coming Monday at 6pm to return the funds before I start to put out public warnings all across the US. This will include contacting the names on his LinkedIn account and feedback under his youtube interviews.
130,000 AED might be peanuts to most property investors living in the UAE, but to this expat, this is enough money worth chasing. The fact that this money was outright "stolen" by the Smith and Ken group means that I will spend what ever time necessary to follow the names involved in this scam so they can not continue to take advantage of others no matter where they hide.
If you are approached by anyone claiming they work for Smith and Ken, do not give them money. Notify the police right away!