Wanted: Warrant out for real estate’s Tinder swindler

Real Brokerage agent is wanted for alleged theft, credit card fraud

Warrant Out For Real Brokerage Agent Accused Of Hinge Scam
Christie’s International's Christina LaBarbiera and broker Rob Harris (Christie’s International Real Estate, Real Brokerage, Getty)

Things are getting real for former Real Brokerage agent Rob Harris. 

The Mahwah, New Jersey, police have issued a warrant for his arrest in connection with theft and credit card fraud alleged in a civil lawsuit filed by Christie’s International agent Christina LaBarbiera,

The warrant comes three weeks after The Real Deal wrote about the lawsuit, in which LaBarbiera accused Harris of scamming her out of $70,000. 

According to LaBarbiera, Harris told a detective that he would turn himself in, though he had allegedly ignored previous outreaches from authorities, did not acknowledge LaBarbiera’s lawsuit, and changed his phone number.

But what might ultimately land Harris in jail is what the police allege was credit card fraud: According to LaBarbiera’s allegations, Harris charged her card $6,400 for Drake tickets, a balance he said would appear as a refund. 

The story began last April, when Harris and LaBarbiera met on Hinge. By that summer, the couple was house-hunting together in Florida. Harris told LaBarbiera he put in an offer on a $1.5 million unit and soon began asking her for money, under the auspices of wanting to minimize his expenses while the mortgage application was being reviewed. 

LaBarbiera sent him more than $70,000 that fall. Harris assured her several times he would pay her back, going so far as to show her a bank account he said was his with a $720,000 balance. 

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Things escalated in early October, when LaBarbiera was scheduled to return to Florida. The day before, Harris texted her frantically, stating that he had been arrested after a traffic stop for an outstanding warrant in New Jersey.

“Do you or anyone you know have $12,106 in cash that can be deposited into an account I give you,” he texted. “I’ll call you the second I can but I got pulled over and they ran my stuff and apparently my restitution from the DV incident that charges were dropped, I don’t have the answer right this second but someone didn’t do their job and I’ve had an outstanding warrant for months now and had no idea I haven’t been pulled over and when I have nobody ran my stuff.”

LaBarbiera sent him the money and canceled her trip, in part because Harris was due back in New Jersey two days later. She went to the airport to pick him up with a pack of his favorite cupcakes. 

But he never showed up, claiming to have been robbed at gunpoint and to have lost his wallet and ID. He also said he took the fall for an unregistered gun that police found in the car he was in, but that charges would be dropped.

She never saw Harris again, though they texted several times. LaBarbiera warned him she would be pursuing criminal charges. Harris promised to pay her back in November. 

A representative of Real Brokerage told TRD that Robert Harris has not been affiliated with the brokerage since January 31. “We disassociated with him immediately upon learning of these allegations,” Real broker Eric Axelson said. “We do not condone this behavior and it does not align with our culture. We trust the justice system will handle it from here.”

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