Home sellers say they got raw deal with ‘Godfather of real estate’ cryptocurrency option Mike Cherwenka calls himself the “godfather of real estate.” But those who bought Troptions from him think otherwise.
ATLANTA – Sounds like an unmissable way to make money: combine Atlanta’s booming real estate market with the growing world of cryptocurrencies.
Some homeowners say it’s lucrative for the man buying a home with a controversial cryptocurrency, but not for the people on the other side of the deal.
Mike Cherwenka calls himself the “godfather of real estate.”
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In one of his contracts, about 30% of the deal was paid in something called Troptions.
When Channel 2 investigative reporter Justin Gray Cherwenka, who went to him with complaints from people, said that the problem was that people did not understand how to use their Troption.
Joe Cebalos thought he knew what he was getting into. He thought a growing cryptocurrency called Troptions had entered the ground floor during a real estate deal.
“I was like, ‘Oh, he’s giving away free money,'” Cebalos said.
But another homeowner, who asked not to be identified, said he had no idea what Troption was until he looked at the final contract for the sale of his Atlanta Subway home.
“Substantial funds have been deposited into the Troptions account,” the host said.
Troptions is a cryptocurrency. About 30% of the payout for both houses was to be paid in Troptions, not US dollars.
Cebalos told Gray that he has a very different view on Troptions.
Cebalos said, “I call it a s— coin.”
US Secret Service agent Easton Espinosa also puts Troptions in this category.
“It’s actually just a coin of very little value,” Espinosa said.
“It falls into – in your mind – that arena,” Gray asked Espinosa.
“Yeah, I think a lot of people think that’s the case,” Espinosa said.
Therefore, the landlord gave up the sale.
“Nobody told me how to remove Troptions from account and cash it out,” the host said.
Because you can’t.
According to the Secret Service, which is tasked with protecting the country’s financial infrastructure, the main red flag with Troptions is that unlike Bitcoin, you cannot withdraw funds.
Troptions cannot be converted to US dollars or any other currency.
“If the major exchanges aren’t going to trade, you have to find someone on a peer-to-peer level to dump it,” Espinosa said.
Therefore, after seeing the paper value of Troptions skyrocket to over $1 million, Cebalos realized they were actually worth nothing.
“I feel like boiling inside,” Cebalos said.
The recipient of these agreements was Cherwenka.
“No, it’s not poop money, man,” Cherwenka told Gray.
He is also an evangelist for Troptions.
“Being saved is like telling everyone about Jesus. I told everyone about the Troptions,” said Cherwenka.
Cherwenka bought a large amount of Troption and then began writing them into real estate deals.
“In the real estate industry, you know, everybody really wants more for their property than it’s worth,” Cherwenka said. “Well, they got free money or found money legally.”
But now Cebalos doesn’t see it that way.
“For him it was fine. But for the others it was a nightmare,” Cebalos said.
In 2019, Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft issued a cease and desist order against Troptions founder Garland Harris for allegedly misleading consumers.
“We are the free country we want to be. We want to let people make their own decisions. But when people get scammed, when people break the law, we step in,” Ashcroft told Gray.
“Right now it’s like we’re in the second half of a nine-shot baseball game,” Cherwenka said.
“So you think someone who sells you one of these houses will eventually win?” Gray asked Cherwenka.
“Of course they are. Absolutely,” said Cherwenka.
“Are they currently earning with them?” Gray asked Cherwenka.
“Of course they are, they just don’t know how to use them,” said Cherwenka.
But it’s not that complicated. You should find someone else willing to trade their real goods for your Troptions.
“It’s not a deal I’ll accept,” Ashcroft said.
“Tell me why not,” Gray asked Ashcroft.
“If I’m selling something valuable, I want to know that I’m getting something valuable in return,” Ashcroft said.
“You have to find someone willing to buy those Troptions to make it all worth it?” Gray asked Cherwenka.
“OK. Say for example.”
“True? Yes or No? Yes or No?” Gray asked.
“For barter money, yes. You trade it for something else,” said Cherwenka.
Cherwenka told us she didn’t do anything illegal. The contracts explain what Troption is and it’s up to the seller to do their research.
A Georgia judge admitted that Cherwenka had not made false promises or said anything.
Cherwenka told Gray that the warrant in Missouri had been revoked.
But Missouri’s secretary of state said it was only because the defendant, who was the founder of Troptions, died.
“If the person you’re talking about wants to come to Missouri and get people to invest in Troptions, he’ll understand that the cause isn’t dead at all,” Ashcroft said.
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“If I were to offer you Troptions for this house, would you make a deal where Troptions is the buyer?” Gray asked Cherwenka.
“I have Troptions, so I’m not interested in selling the house,” Cherwenka said.
“Don’t you want more? If it’s that great, wouldn’t you want more?” Gray asked.
“There’s a lot of Troption out there, so don’t get trapped by these questions,” Cherwenka said.
About an hour after the call, Cherwenka texted Gray that she wanted to fix it and said she would sell her house to Gray if she paid Gray Troptions.
But that’s a deal that experts like the Missouri secretary of state and the U.S. Secret Service will warn against taking Gray.
Cherwenka also emailed Gray a few days after the meeting, saying that if Troptions were traded on exchanges, buyers would be able to cash in on their investments.
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