2012 Scranton Area “Realtor of the Year” Under Investigation

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Peter Lamandre was the Greater Scranton Area Realtor of the year in 2012. Now, he's under investigation by police.

At least a dozen property owners in several states claim Lamandre pocketed tens of thousands of dollars in rent money from properties he managed through his company in Dickson City.

Theresa Saulque of San Francisco owns a five unit apartment building in Olyphant.

Three years ago, she hired Lamandre of "Better by Design Realty" company to manage the property by finding tenants, collecting rent, and maintaining the units.

She says that in the past year, Lemandre stopped doing the job.

"He stopped paying and depositing money into our account," said Saulque via phone from the West Coast.  "He let people live there who never paid rent."

Dickson City police have received more than 20 complaints from property owners about Lamandre and "Better by Design."

In addition court records from Lackawanna and Luzerne counties show seven property owners have won more than $51,000 in judgments against Lamandre.

Action 16 has learned at least five more lawsuits will be filed against him soon.

Theresa Saulque, says she is out at least $30,000.

According to police, Lamandre was supposed to collect rent from tenants, take 10-percent for himself, then send the rest to the property owners.  But those suing him say Lamandre would collect the rent, and keep it.

Friday afternoon, Dickson City police obtained a search warrant and removed several items from Lamandre's office.

Police say Lamandre hasn't been seen at work in three months, and they do not know where he is.

Two weeks ago. Lamandre's parents, Kim and Anthony Lamandre, and his younger brother Dakota were busted in Blakely after detectives say they found images of a marijuana growing operation that Dakota posted on the social network, Instagram.

Three former clients of Better By Design tell Newswatch 16 that Kim Lamandre did the bookkeeping for the firm. But police say there is no apparent connection between the alleged pot growing operation and the property management company.