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The Real Deal Los Angeles

When that Hotline bling with fraud: Imposter lists Drake’s house

"YOLO Estate" mistakenly hit the market for $20M
By Subrina Hudson | February 02, 2017 08:00AM

Hidden Hills estate, Drake (Credit: Redfin/Getty/via Chieforganizer.org)

Canadian-born rapper Drake made another hit when it was reported that his three-acre Hidden Hills home was on the market for $20 million this week.

But the property he calls “the YOLO Estate” was just as quickly taken off the Multiple Listing Service.

Turns out, the reported listing agent Alex Pavlov of First Choice Realty was dealing with a fraudster, The Real Deal has learned.

Pavlov was contacted by someone claiming to be Drake’s manager, who said the rapper wanted to sell his 12,500-square-foot property, the broker told TRD.

The impersonator emailed a signed listing agreement that included a forged signature of Drake’s legal name, Aubrey Drake Graham, Pavlov said. The individual claimed Drake was on tour in London, thus too busy to handle the sale of the property. Pavlov then requested he send a power of attorney agreement.

While waiting for the agreement, Pavlov began entering the listing information into the MLS. Intending to save it as a draft, he unintentionally made the listing active.

The next day, he set out to take photos of the property. When he called to arrange the photoshoot, the individual who had called in the listing “started going crazy,” Pavlov said. By then, news reports about the listing had already spread.

“I don’t know who he is,” Pavlov said. “But I’m planning to call the police.”

Pavlov said he has tried contacting the person but has not been able to get in touch.

We asked local brokers if they’ve encountered tricksters of this nature. All of them said this was quite unusual.

“It’s a very strange thing,” said Sharona Alperin of Sotheby’s, adding she had never experienced a similar situation. “You have to make sure all your ducks are in a row. You have to take a listing with the person that’s on the title unless they somehow say they have power of attorney.”

Ernie Carswell of Teles Properties said the house should not have been listed without direct confirmation from the seller.

“This should not occur without the client’s full permission, or, even better, without the client’s actual request,” Carswell said in an email. “I’m aware of imposters who act as if they have controlling interest in a property, but are either just close friends or related to the owner in some manner, but not on the title, deed or even affiliated with the property legally.”

Lee Mintz of Partners Trust, whose rolodex includes celebrities such as Rihanna, said she’s surprised the listing went so far, considering the documentation required by MLS is extensive.

She said people have called her, falsely claiming association with Drake in an effort to book a vacation rental, but described this situation as more serious, even “scary.”

“A lot of people name drop,” Mintz said. “They’ll say, ‘I need a house for Drake’ – thinking brokers will jump on it.”