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FBI Investigates Woman's Real Estate Venture

SEAL BEACH (AP) — The FBI is investigating whether a Seal Beach real estate saleswoman bilked dozens of investors out of thousands of dollars each while using a software program to make intimidating calls to keep them quiet.

The Orange County Register reports that 44-year-old Karen Hanover is facing trial in August on charges of impersonating an FBI agent by using "spoofing" software to disguise her caller ID.

After purchasing $3,000 dollars worth of Hanover's CDs, Rebecca Smith, 42, paid her own way to travel to a "Fast Track" seminar in Dallas, where she and about 100 others listened to Hanover's pitch on how to make lucrative commercial property deals.

At the Dallas event, Hanover told the audience that when they worked with her, they became family.

Smith bought into Hanover's promise to become an "equity partner" for $29,999 and thought the money would be invested into two commercial property deals that would provide 100 percent returns.

Two months after the money had been wired into Hanover's account, Smith and other investors hadn't heard anything and began to worry.

Smith began to comment on a blog critical of Hanover, and not long after, a man purporting to be an FBI agent called. His caller ID even came up "US Gov."

But the fake FBI agent soon began to intimidate and threaten the Los Alamitos real estate agent.

"I was trying to explain something and he said, `Just shut up and answer the questions!"' Smith, 42, told the Register.

Smith called the real FBI and filed a report.

According to an FBI report, Smith wasn't alone and Hanover's investors never had their money placed into any properties. Hanover didn't honor her money-back guarantee.

Several other investors spoke to the Register but wouldn't comment on the record, saying Hanover is known to file lawsuits against her detractors.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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