Congolese family moves to Kansas City to escape civil war, only to be scammed out of life savings

Problem Solvers

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A man who has been scamming Kansas Citians for more than a decade is back in trouble again.

This time the victims were a family who lost everything when they fled civil war in their country, only to settle in Kansas City and be robbed of their savings in a real estate scam.

The Kilongos moved to Kansas City five years ago with the hope of starting life over after fleeing the atrocities of civil war in their native Republic of Congo. Ever since arriving, the parents and older children have worked steadily to build a life in a new country, and to save enough to buy their own home.

They never dreamed that the city that opened its arms to them would be the same city where they would lose their life savings of $30,000 in a real estate scam. But that’s what happened last year. Three men took the family’s savings, promising to sell them a home.

“They didn’t know that they were being duped,” said Peter Makori, who works with immigrants at Della Lamb.

Makori translated for the parents whose English is limited. Last November, he said, the family paid $30,000 down for a house on East 69th Terrace that they were told was being sold for $60,000.

When the family went to take possession of the house, they learned from the person living there that it wasn’t for sale.

The Kilongo family demanded their money back. Instead the three men who took their money said they had another house they could sell them. It was at 4512 Spruce Ave. But the family heard the same story at that house.

“The owner said ‘this is my house and it doesn’t belong to them,’“ Makori said.
 
The Kilongos called Kansas City police, who took a detailed report. But that was in November and nothing has happened since. That’s why Makori convinced the family to talk to FOX4 Problem Solvers. He hoped that Problem Solvers could help the family get its $30,000 back and stop the scammers who stole it.

The police report lists three men as those responsible for the bogus house sale: Papi Kasindi, who’s also a native of the Congo, Sanchez Williams, and a third man who was no stranger to FOX4 Problem Solvers – Miles Wesley Thomas.

Problem Solvers has warned people repeatedly about Thomas. He’s been convicted of real estate fraud, burglary and forgery. The last time we saw Thomas was five years ago. He wouldn’t answer our questions, however, and even tried to hide his face by pulling his T-shirt over his head.

Back then he was accused of renting homes he didn’t own to people like Gwendolyn Nicholson.

“Miles Thomas needs to be exposed,” she told Problem Solvers. Nicholson had paid Thomas $1,000 to move into a house he supposedly owned and was renting. But within weeks of moving in, Nicholson was evicted by the actual owners of the house – leaving her and her son homeless.

So what was Miles Thomas’ alleged role in this latest scam? The Congolese family has a receipt for the $30,000 they paid and it’s signed by Miles Wesley Thomas. Problem Solvers tried to find Thomas to hear his side. He didn’t answer the door at his home, or return our phone calls.

Problem Solvers discovered that Thomas is on probation for another crime. Problem Solvers told the family to contact his probation officer. They did. Multiple times. But they never heard back.

So, Problem Solvers paid a visit to the probation department, which promised it would look into it.

FOX4 Problem Solvers also contacted Kansas City Police Department’s economic crimes division, which has hundreds of cases, but only three detectives. Police know exactly who Thomas is, but told us it’s often hard to get a conviction because many of his victims are too scared to talk.

But we assured police that the Kilongo family has no fear of Thomas. They’ve survived war and mass corruption in their homeland, Thomas is just another obstacle to conquer.

Police are now investigating.


Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Latest Problem Solvers Videos

More Problem Solvers

Popular

Latest

More News