Sawyers' tenants still will pay the couple in prison
Renter in limbo, upset: Couple owes nearly $6 million in restitution
Former Bend Realtor Tami Sawyer and her husband Kevin, a former Bend police captain, are in jail, on their way to federal prison after being sentenced last week for fraud and money-laundering.
But now renters who live in their homes are worried about their own future.
The Sawyers own three homes in Bend that are being rented out.
Renters were given a letter Monday saying the rent still must be paid to Genesis Futures, regardless of the fact the owners, the Sawyers, are in prison.
"My first reaction was this is, probably another scam from the Sawyers," said one renter from the couple, who didn't want to show his face or share his name publicly.
He, along with two other renters from the Sawyers, were handed those letters.
"It is a shock to me that they would have any amount of authority from prison, especially after a conviction," the renter said.
The letter says Genesis Futures will keep paying the mortgage payments with the rent.
"It's disturbing that they can still continue to make money, even after these people have been essentially robbed," the renter said.
The Sawyers were ordered by a federal judge to pay nearly $6 million to the 33 investors they defrauded.
Those three homes, plus a $2 million one in Mexico, were talked about in court, with plans to be sold to pay off that debt.
As for the Bend renter, he would like to pay somebody else in the meantime.
"I would like to pay my rent to the investors," he said. "I would like to put my rent into an escrow account, and when these houses get paid for, they may make the mortgage on them and they may not. If they don't make the mortgage payments on them, then they are just pocketing my rent money every month."
The renter said his best move is to continue paying the Sawyers on time while he is looking for a different place to live.
So for now, the drama of the Sawyers continues.
"Now to wonder, are these mortgages going to be paid for?" the renter asked. "Are the banks going to come and knock on the door? It's not how I want to live my life. I never signed up for any of that. It wasn't anything I would have ever agreed to, especially just renting a house."
U.S. Department of Justice said it doesn't handle rental agreement issues -- those are between the tenant and landlord.
NewsChannel 21 also talked with the rental company by phone, and a woman told us no one could comment.
She did tell us the company sent out the letter to renters, and if they had any questions, the contact number was listed for them.
The Sawyers are in the Lane County Jail before they are transfered to federal prison.
Kevin will serve just over two years at the Sheridan Prison in Oregon and Tami got 9 years in an Oakland, California-area prison.
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