More alleged victims of house-flipping company come forward

iFlip is accused of steering investors to bad loans, “cross-collateralization” clause

More Alleged Victims of Chicago House-Flipping Venture Speak Out
iFlip Chicago's Ramo Bey and Michaele Nicole Bey (Facebook, Getty)

A dream of building wealth through real estate turned into a nightmare for dozens of Chicago South Side residents who invested with iFLIP Chicago, a company now facing lawsuits over an alleged Ponzi scheme, and more alleged victims have come forward.

iFLIP Chicago, led by Ramo and Michaele Bey, offered eight-week boot camps marketed to inexperienced investors. They flaunted their “20 years combined experience,” via social media videos and promotional materials, and offered a path to “financial freedom” through real estate flipping, NBC Chicago reported

Many attendees, including realtors, doctors and entrepreneurs, were captivated by the promise of generational wealth creation.

However, the lawsuits paint a different picture. Investors allege that after the boot camps, the Beys pressured them into their Joint Venture Program. Through this program, iFLIP would find a property, secure financing, oversee renovations and then split the profits with the investor after the flip. 

According to the lawsuits and interviews with investors, iFLIP steered them toward high-interest, short-term loans with Envision Funding, a lender with connections to iFLIP that remain unclear. The loans were structured in a way that seemed beneficial — iFLIP would supposedly handle everything from finding contractors to managing finances. 

However, a critical detail was hidden within the loan documents: a “cross-collateralization” clause. The clause meant that if one investor defaulted on their loan, the remaining investors in the program would be on the hook for that debt. Many investors claim they were completely unaware of this clause and were not properly informed by a lawyer recommended by iFLIP.

Adding fuel to the fire, investors allege that iFLIP used unqualified contractors whose work resulted in multiple failed city inspections and significant delays. Tiffany Brown, a realtor who invested with iFLIP in 2021, claims her property sat idle for nine months due to permit issues caused by iFLIP’s negligence. Meanwhile, the clock was ticking on her high-interest loan, accruing debt with each passing day. Several investors reported having to pay out of pocket to fix shoddy work or complete renovations themselves after iFLIP contractors walked off the job.

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Deshon Carr, another investor, detailed the financial strain caused by the delays and substandard work. 

“With the loan ticking, I had no choice but to dip into my own funds to pay the contractors to keep things moving,” he told the outlet. Carr estimates he spent $50,000 on top of his initial investment just to get his property close to completion.

The situation worsened when some investors discovered their properties were headed for foreclosure. Emails obtained by the outlet show that loan money earmarked for renovations was being diverted to cover Bey’s own overdue debts on other properties, debts that were affecting all the investors due to the cross-collateralization clause.

Ramo Bey has maintained his innocence, contending that he and his clients were victims of predatory lending and unclear loan terms. However, the emails contradict his claims, showing Bey was repeatedly informed about the cross-collateralization clause. He has also not addressed questions regarding his alleged role as a “loan officer” for Envision Funding, a position listed on some investor closing documents.

Two investors, Ameera Haamid and Tatianna Barnett, are suing iFLIP and Envision Funding for fraud, conspiracy and breach of contract. Neither Bey nor his attorney have appeared in court to defend the charges. 

—Quinn Donoghue

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