DETROIT (WJBK) - Roscoe Copeland is the CEO of a record company, but also a hip hop artist and CEO of another company called Alexis Realty. However, his record roster is hitless, his own rap videos have turned up few views, and a book he wrote is a bust. Despite all of that, he lives a lavish lifestyle.
Roscoe eats meals at five-star restaurants, lives in a luxury high-rise apartments, and even has a driver who chauffeurs him around.
So with a less-than stellar track record in business, what gives? How does he possibly live this 1% lifestyle? People across the country say they know.
They told FOX 2's Rob Wolcheck that Roscoe used his slick website and business image to get them to put down earnest money on real estate loans that were never funded.
"He has no kind of compassion and no kind of concern whatsoever for anyone," a victim from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, said.
All told, $400,000 in earnest money seems to have just disappeared
"I hope it's somewhere that I can get it back," another victim said.
Roscoe says not to blame him - he says he's a victim, too!
"We got duped just like they did," he said.
Let's back up. Dawnn Long is the Chief Operating officer of Alexis Realty, Roscoe's company. We caught up to her a few weeks ago and, well, things didn't work out. A friend of hers interfered with our cameras as we tried to ask her about Roscoe.
The people who trusted Dawnn with tens of thousands of their dollars say she came off as a polished businesswoman. That makes sense, considering she's the COO of what's supposed to be a big company in Detroit.
In reality, she lives in a trailer in Macomb County, drives a rusty car, and hangs out with the guy who interfered with our cameras. On that day, customers around the country were promised she was going to the bank to work out their loans. But the only bank she was at was The Dank Bank.
So, where's the missing money?
"We will have the money we've been told no earlier than this Tuesday no later than this Friday," Long said.
The problem with that statement is that she's been telling people that for 8 months.
"That's what we were told by our sources. We've not taken any money and the people that have asked us for refunds, we have given them refunds," she said.
That's a lie.
"I haven't received one penny back," Jessica, a Phoenix real estate agent, said.
She understands alternative funding - that's what Alexis Realty Solutions promises - and has worked with others in the past, successfully. Instead of going to a bank, Alexis claims "We are a private lender with no middle man."
"The only thing that seemed unusual was the interest rate. Obviously I thought it was very attractive," she said.
Jessica was promised a 30-year fixed rate loan at 1%. She just had to come up with $30,000 for earnest money as a down payment. The Alexis website states "the initial deposit used to secure the instrument remains in escrow until funds are matured. This process can take as little as 21 days but is allotted 30 to 45 days."
"We were told it was going into an attorney escrow account," she said she was told that by both Roscoe and Dawnn.
That was last December. She lost out on the home she was supposed to buy and she was never refunded her earnest money.
She's not the only one who claims to have been duped. In Milwaukee, Bree and her boyfriend Chris are out more than $70,000 used for a down payment on a house and investment properties through Alexis Realty Solutions.
"We are homeless actually. We're staying in a small three bedroom house with my parents. It's myself, my boyfriend and our six children," Chris said.
"Initially they told me they had $200 billion to loan. It was all government money backed by bonds," Bree said.
Remember, no middle man. So Bree and Chris they sold their old home late last year and were waiting to close. Their loan closing date kept getting pushed back.
"It was mostly Dawnn Long that we were dealing with," Bree said. "Roscoe, I had some contact with. He would threaten to not fund our deal."
The deal never was funded and their earnest money never returned.
"I want to tell people to run away from Roscoe Copeland as soon as possible!" Bree said.
Marissa in Baton Rouge is in the same situation. She had a contract to buy a house and gave $20,000 in earnest money. Roscoe and Dawnn kept putting off her closing date until the seller simply couldn't wait any longer and sold the house to someone else.
Marissa lost the home and her money.
"Obviously he doesn't care that everybody's lost their homes, they've lost their earnest deposit, some people have been in a hotel since November," Marissa said.
Bobby in Alabama also never got his loan. He handed over $90,000 to buy a motel.
"It's a huge financial burden and strain," Bobby said. "We have a whole lot of people involved and they just simply don't care. They're like that's not my problem."
While all of these people are suffering, Roscoe Copeland has been living it up.
"It's really ruined people's lives and if you can go on with your everyday life like that, posting on Facebook what you're eating, your dinner..." Marissa said.
"What is really disturbing is watching him purchase all new furniture, go out to eat, go on all these vacations to Las Vegas to California to Florida - while we sit here trying to figure out where we're going to live," Marissa said.
They have an ally in Rosalind, a former vice president and consultant for Alexis Realty. She thinks that it's all a scheme and claims to have been played as well.
"That's every consultant's job to find people who need money, get them to the conference call with Roscoe and Dawnn. And then you'd be promised a commission that you'd never see," she said.
They also have an ally in Rhonda, a friend of Dawnn's. She says she was convinced to do a gap loan for a young Detroit businessman.
"So she went to my bank with me and I said 'Dawnn, I got a question for you: is my money protected? Oh yea, it goes into a trust'," she said.
That was a year ago. She never got her money back.
Now that we've heard from people across the country, let's go to the source: Roscoe.
"The reason I had no problem with doing this and meeting you is because the individuals who sent this aren't really upset with us," he said.
That seems wrong, considering Chris and Bree are upset about being out of $70,000.
By his own admission, his clients have put down $400,000 and didn't get funded and haven't gotten their money back. Roscoe's explanation - despite his website claiming there is no middle-man - is that his client's earnest money has been sent to a woman named Kimberly Cain of KDC Financial in Colorado for funding.
Roscoe's clients say of course they sent the money to Kimberly because they thought she was working for Roscoe and didn't find out she was the middle-man until after their money was gone.
So has Roscoe ever gone out Colorado to fight for his clients?
"No. I had no reason to go out there," he said.
Remember, some of his clients sent tens of thousands of dollars on loans that were supposed to have closed last year.
Roscoe says that despite the $400,000 not being returned, he says he's not living it up on their money.
"Don't turn this around like they sent their money to me and I'm out living my life with their money. That's not the case," he said.
He did admit that it does look that way.
This isn't Roscoe's first housing scandal. In 2013 Roscoe Copeland pleaded guilty in federal court to conspiracy in a scheme that cheated people who were losing their homes out of federal help. He also had an injunction slapped on him for violating bankruptcy laws in 2009.
There are a lot of people around the country who are out a lot of money. But Roscoe says it's not his fault.
"They're not out of it because they sent it to me. They're out of it because my company introduced them to Kimberly Cain," he said.
Roscoe's company is the one that wrote the loan guarantee letters. They have his signature and Long's signature all over them.
"You're absolutely right. It's because of us that they were introduced to Kimberly Cain. So we gave them bad advice and we admit that," he said.
Kimberly Cain told rob that she didn't put any money in escrow; she said she cashed the checks, took her commission, sent Roscoe and Dawn their commission, and sent the rest of the money Banker in Hong Kong and a banker in New York.
She's adamant that that the three didn't break any laws.
Bobby from Alabama just got his deposit money returned to him. However, Roscoe was using a different middle-man broker for Bobby's loan. Roscoe claimed he was going to send a list of loans that actually got funded but he never did.