Houston Conman Sentenced to 20 Years in Prison for Real-Estate Scams

Style Magazine Newswire | 7/11/2023, 3:50 p.m.
A Houston conman who made more than $1 million pretending to sell distressed properties for cash to dozens of people …
Robert Gibson,

A Houston conman who made more than $1 million pretending to sell distressed properties for cash to dozens of people was sentenced to 20 years in prison Monday, Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg announced.

“Prosecuting white-collar crime is a priority because it is devastating to the people who lose thousands of dollars in what should be ordinary, everyday business transactions,” Ogg said. “Conmen, scammers and fraudsters are thieves, plain and simple, and when they repeatedly take advantage of our community, like in this case, they need to be in prison.”

Robert Gibson, 59, pleaded guilty Monday to theft of more than $300,000, a first-degree felony punishable by up to life in prison, in exchange for a 20-year sentence.

Gibson scammed 29 people out of a total of $1.2 million by pretending he could legally sell property that was scheduled to go up for auction by the Harris County Tax Assessor. He lied about being able to sell it for cash well below what it was expected to go for at auction.

Operating from August 2019 to June 2021 under the company name Divine Capital Investments, Gibson was especially adept at scamming members of his church. Those people, believing they got a great deal, then told other members of the church, unwittingly bringing in more victims for Gibson to take advantage of.

Assistant District Attorney Sheila Hansel, who is assigned to the DA’s Consumer Fraud Section, said the Harris County Sheriff’s Office started investigating Gibson when the first seven victims reported him and the Houston Police Department opened an investigation when even more victims came forward.

“He was a con artist and he worked the members of his congregation, and they handed over tens of thousands dollars in cash for a piece of paper that wasn’t worth anything,” Hansel said. “He had the paperwork and it looked legitimate, but it wasn’t and the money was spent as fast as it was coming in. Now it’s just gone.”

Hansel said property buyers need to watch out for red flags, talk to professional brokers and bankers about the process and use reputable title companies when buying property.

Gibson was facing a minimum of 15 years in prison because he had been sentenced to prison at least twice before after being convicted of pretending to be an attorney in the mid-1990s and for theft for similar real-estate scams.