GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Wyoming Police arrest man for forgery after victims allege investment scam.
Two west Michigan investors say they’re out thousands of dollars after giving a man $40,000 to flip a home in Wyoming.
They provided FOX 17 with documents that promise repayment.
But after getting the runaround for weeks they contacted our Problem Solvers team.
They believe the man is still out there taking people’s money so they’re trying to warn others about what they’re calling a scam.
Both of them even went to police about their claims.
Officers arrested the guy on a related issue, but the alleged victims say they didn’t realize who they gave their money to until they found his criminal record.
“And that’s when I told him, ‘Dan, I don’t feel comfortable moving on with this business relationship. Something’s up you’re not being truthful and I want my money back,” said Johannes Slendebroek.
Slendebroek has been in the construction business for more than 16 years remodeling homes and flipping at least one on his own. A few months ago he wanted to boost his portfolio, so in September he gave $30,000 to a man named Daniel Engelking.
He said the money would help Engelking pay off another guy and then flip a home at 69 Jordan Street in Wyoming.
“No progress was being made on the house and money was not being spent. It disappeared, he claimed he had to use it for his business, his painting business Imperial Home Works and he couldn’t account for the money,” Slendebroek told Fox 17.
He provided us with notarized documents that he says show Engelking borrowed the money and agreed to pay it back by November 4th with 30% interest.
After no payments, Slendebroek met Engelking at the site and asked to see all the documentation for where the money ended up.
“Then that’s where he told us ‘yea I took the money and I had to put it towards my business to keep these jobs going otherwise I was gonna lose a bunch of money. But John don’t worry all that money’s coming back’. I asked him where the money was and how much it was and it accounted for like $34,000 I think, and I’m like, ‘Dan, at a minimum you’re supposed to have $35,000 and that means you’ve done all this work for free,” said Slendebroek.
“He goes, ‘if you’re ever interested in investing I’d love to maybe invest in the future and work together and maybe do our first flip with a small amount and if that works out we can probably do some more in the future.’ And I was like, ‘ok he seems like a reasonable guy maybe I’ll do that,” said local barber Jansey Rodriguez.
Rodriguez says he met Engelking while cutting his hair. They too talked about investments. Several months later he loaned Engelking $10,000 at 40% interest.
“He promised that within 30 days he’d have the money and I’d have no worries. No worries about getting the money back,” said Rodriguez.
The cash would ultimately go to help flip the same property on Jordan Street that Slendebroek invested in.
“I remember going to the bank and thinking, ‘what if this goes south?’ And I thought, ‘well I have paperwork to back it up. I got it notarized, I made sure I talked to his friends, the guy seems cool I asked him directly and he reassured me everything seemed cool,” said Rodriguez.
The due date came but there was no money, only excuses. The same ones Johannes says he heard.
“’I’m gonna get you tomorrow for sure. I’m a man of my word, man of my word’, he says that a lot. Found out swindlers say that a lot. ‘I’m a man of my word I’ll get you your money’. Then of course the first of November comes around, same story,” said Rodriguez.
When both men did not get paid they went online.
“And that’s when we found out I was actually getting scammed,” said Rodriguez. “And I thought, ‘oh my gosh’ like my heart sank to my stomach thinking ‘I just gave away $10,000’.”
“To be honest, I kinda had that moment that I wanted to puke and I pulled my car over and just Googled Dan’s name,” said Slendebroek.
When both searched for Engelking on the internet, they found his prison record from the Michigan Department of Corrections.
It shows the 40-year-old served time after being convicted of home invasion, along with computer and financial crimes.
“When I saw that, I literally had a moment of like ‘oh my god what did I do,” said Slendebroek.
After Slendebroek and a couple others went to the authorities, Wyoming Police opened up a case. Not for their repayment contracts, but for a forgery charge that was also related to a similar investment.
“As part of those investments a repayment was a promise of a truck where a title was signed over to one of the people involved. Found out that title was not valid, so he was charged with forgery of licensed documents,” said Lt. Eric Wiler with the Wyoming Police Department.
Engleking turned himself into police after they issued a warrant and officers arrested him three days before Christmas.
FOX 17 talked with the woman involved in that case.
While she didn’t want to be on camera, she tells us she loaned Engelking $37,000 which was most of her savings. This charge was the only one that prosecutors would pursue.
“There were contracts that were entered into between Mr. Engelking and the people involved. We presented it to our prosecutor’s office, the prosecutors looked at it and said that those were civil arrangements and that there was not a criminal charge they could issue on it,” said Lt. Wiler.
FILING A LAWSUIT
The guys who invested to flip the home disagree. Both says they will be taking Engelking to court and filing a lawsuit to get their money.
“There’s clear fraud here,” said Slendebroek, “there’s clear intent, there’s clear misrepresentation, he has a record of doing this.”
“It was gut-wrenching to think like, ‘what am I gonna do from this point? You know, are my papers valid in court? Are they gonna hold up? And what’s my next step, you know?’” said Rodriguez.
When I asked Engelking if he took their money he said he had no comment and to talk to his attorney. He did tell me that he has all the receipts for any money he’s paid back.
His attorney would not comment on the criminal charges he’s currently facing.
Wyoming Police would like to hear from anyone who’s had similar dealings with Engelking in case more charges need to be brought against him.
You can contact the department at 616-530-7300.