Ex-Real Estate Agent Nabbed for Robbing Casino

real estate agentWho knew the housing crisis had gotten this bad? Anthony Carleo, a 29-year-old judge's son who is suspected of stealing $1.5 million worth of chips from Las Vegas's Bellagio Hotel during a brazen armed robbery, was set to appear in court today. Carleo gave up his job as a real estate agent in the Pueblo, Colo., area just four months before the Dec. 14 heist, and right after filing for bankruptcy and having four homes go into foreclosure.

No doubt this economy has had some real estate agents struggling to maintain their business, but times were truly tough for Carleo, whose real estate broker associate's license expired Aug. 1, 2010. In the two years he spent working with his uncle and step-father at the family-owned Sound Venture Realty, he netted just $552 as a real estate broker, reported the Denver Post.

He supplemented his income by dabbling in a variety of other Colorado businesses before filing for bankruptcy in September 2009. The former one-time disc jockey, also did roofing sales and was part-owner with his stepfather, Gino Carleo, of Gold Key Limousines, whose company website boasts, "What Goes On in the Limo, Stays in the Limo."

His debtors ranged from numerous mortgage lenders, to Parkview Hospital and Playboy magazine subscription services, his bankruptcy file shows. Eventually, four properties he owned went into foreclosure, including a $330,000 home in the 800 block of Kalispell Avenue in Pueblo, that was damaged before being handed off to the bank.

"I can tell you this place was trashed," contractor Bob Steinmetz, who purchased the property from the bank but never met Carleo, told the Denver Post. Although the damage didn't compare to AOL Real Estate's report on the "Worst Foreclosed Home Vandalism Ever," the 3,000-square-foot home had been attacked with a hatchet and hammer, and the appliances were gone, said Steinmetz.

Carleo subsequently moved to Las Vegas and listed his address as the home of his father, Las Vegas Municipal Court Judge George Assad, who resides in a 3,946-square footer with three bedrooms and a swimming pool in a gated community on Corta Bella Drive.

Assad issued a statement through a publicist saying he and his family were "devastated and heartbroken to see my son arrested under these circumstances." Although he added that he couldn't comment about "any pending legal matter as it relates to anyone, including my son," he did say "that as a prosecutor and a judge, I have always felt people who break the law need to be held accountable."

Carleo, who at the age of 18 legally took on his father's last name, but continued to use both interchangeably, reported the Las Vegas Sun. He is being held at the Clark County Detention Center and is suppose to appear in court today, according to the center.

The arrest was part of an undercover police investigation, which included Carleo selling $25,000
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cranberry casino chips, the same type that were stolen from the Bellagio by a man wearing a motorcycle helmet who fled on the same make and model of motorcycle as registered to Carleo, reported the Las Vegas Review-Journal. He lost $73,000 gambling at the resort on New Year's Eve, police said.

Although not every part-time real estate agent ends up in such a predicament, part-timers with second jobs are sometimes the brunt of jokes by full-timers, as AOL Real Estate reported previously in "Can a Part-Time Real Estate Agent Get the Job Done?"

In that article we discuss Re/Max's "Side Job" viral ad, which was about a couple's real estate agent fielding their phone call while he is flipping burgers at a greasy, noisy diner (maybe its next ad can show an agent taking a call while robbing a roulette table.)

The median hours per week a Realtor -- those who are members of the National Association of Realtors -- works is 40, with almost half (41 percent) working fewer than 40 hours per week, the NAR discovered in a survey of its members. The National Association of Realtors says 30 percent of member agents work between 20 and 39 hours a week and 11 percent work less than 20 hours a week. Of course some work over time: 45 percent work 40 to 59 hours and 15 percent work 60 hours or more. There are 1.1 million Realtors out of 1.85 million active licensees.

It's recommended that sellers interested in enlisting the help of a real estate agent should interview at least three agents, which is one of several tips AOL Real Estate offers in "How to Choose a Realtor."

Bellagio Bandit Steals from Craps Table

Sheree R. Curry, who has owned three homes and never lost one to foreclosure, is a three-time, award-winning journalist living in the Twin Cities who has covered real estate for six years. During her 20-year career, her articles have appeared regularly in the Wall Street Journal, TV Week, and Fortune. She's been with AOL Real Estate since 2009 and seeks a book publisher -- or at least a lender who'll give a reasonable mortgage rate to a self-employed mom.

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