Commission denies Leonard Fazio’s bid for a new real estate license

By: - November 9, 2021 11:13 am

A once-prominent central Iowa real estate agent, sent to prison on charges of fraud, has been denied a license to again sell real estate in Iowa. (Photo by Tierra Mallorca, via Unsplash)

After serving two years in prison, a once-prominent central Iowa real estate agent has been denied a license to again sell real estate in Iowa.

State records indicate Leonard Fazio applied for a new Iowa real estate license in March. The Iowa Real Estate Commission replied with a notice of intent to deny the application, giving Fazio until Aug. 20 to file an appeal. According to the board, Fazio did not file an appeal, resulting in the board’s recent decision to deny his application.

In its decision, the commission cited Fazio’s 2005 felony convictions related to his job as a real estate broker, and stated that in his application Fazio continued to “minimize the seriousness of his criminal actions and (sought) to deflect responsibility for his felonious conduct upon others.”

Fazio was once a prominent licensed real estate broker with his own high-profile RE/MAX franchise in Des Moines. At the time, he also was involved in selling other properties for out-of-state mortgage companies, particularly with foreclosures and repossessions.

Court records indicate Homecomings Financial was one of the companies that hired Fazio to perform such work, paying him to either sell properties on an “as is” basis, or directing Fazio to rehabilitate the property by hiring contractors.

In 2014, Fazio was indicted in federal court and accused of submitting to Homecomings reimbursement requests for rehab work that was never performed. He also was accused of wire fraud, charges that stemmed from his handling of an acreage in New Virginia, Iowa. Fazio told Homecomings the property was worth $40,000 as it was, or $80,000 if rehabilitated.

Fazio then attempted to buy the property for himself, but each offer was summarily rejected by Homecomings, which had a policy of not selling to listing agents. Fazio then made an offer to purchase the land in the name of his girlfriend. Homecomings accepted that offer for $48,000, after which Fazio marketed the property and secured a purchase offer of $110,000.

In 2005, a jury convicted Fazio of two counts of wire fraud in connection with the sale of the New Virginia land, and one count of mail fraud for an inflated reimbursement request. He was sentenced to 24 months imprisonment, fined $40,000, and ordered to pay $58,150 in restitution.

Until recently, Fazio operated a window-cleaning franchise called The Squeegee Squad.

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Clark Kauffman
Clark Kauffman

Deputy Editor Clark Kauffman has worked during the past 30 years as both an investigative reporter and editorial writer at two of Iowa’s largest newspapers, the Des Moines Register and the Quad-City Times. He has won numerous state and national awards for reporting and editorial writing. His 2004 series on prosecutorial misconduct in Iowa was named a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting. From October 2018 through November 2019, Kauffman was an assistant ombudsman for the Iowa Office of Ombudsman, an agency that investigates citizens’ complaints of wrongdoing within state and local government agencies.