Twenty-five property owners who rented condos through Keye Beach Rentals have filed a lawsuit against the parent company, Keye Real Estate after they sold a portion of their business to a man accused of embezzling thousands from clients.
According to the lawsuit, Keye Real Estate should have known Walter Pigg had an “unscrupulous history and was financially unfit” to buy and manage Keye Beach Rentals.
The suit claims that Keye Real Estate wrongfully gave more than $500,000 of trust funds to Pigg without the property owners’ knowledge or consent. This caused acts of fraud, theft, and damage by Pigg over several months.
Police began investigating Pigg after North Myrtle Beach officials received almost three dozen complaints regarding his suspected misconduct and unethical business practices since buying Keye Beach Rentals.
Pigg is accused of stealing more than $100,000 from clients. He was arrested on June 7 and charged with breach of trust with fraudulent intent after allegedly stealing over $17,000 from a Homeowners Association for personal use.
Pigg was arrested again on July 1 and was charged with six counts of breach of trust with fraudulent intent after withholding almost $25,000 in rent from six property owners over the last year. Police said that he collected rent through personal checks and credit cards, but hasn’t paid any of the property owners as of June.
Property owners said that Pigg didn’t pay them on time when he bought the business in February and later refused to pay them completely. He also prevented owners for overseeing rental activity, double-booked units, charged tenants higher rates without the owners knowledge and left units dirty.
The lawsuit says that Keye Real Estate had a responsibility to review Pigg’s financial stability, history, reputation, insurance claims, business entities, competency, and civil and criminal claims history, before selling Keye Beach Rentals and transferring their clients’ trust accounts to Pigg.
The lawsuit requests a jury trial and an unspecified amount of money.