Former Boston real estate agent Dale Murawski, 42, was arraigned May 3 and charged with stealing $166,000 from 19 friends, co-workers and clients. Victims, former friends and family members say the current charges barely scratch the surface of his fraudulent activity, and they may be correct; Banker & Tradesman has confirmed there are outstanding warrants for Murawski in Connecticut and Texas.
Murawski “probably owes money to people in every city he’s ever been in or through,” said his brother, Scott Murawski.
According to the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office, between May 2015 and February 2016, Murawski allegedly told false stories about a divorce or an impending real estate deal to acquaintances and asked them for a short-term loan, typically about $5,000. He is also alleged to have given many victims promissory notes, letters from prospective employers and even blank checks to make them feel more comfortable loaning him the money. He promised high interest rates and a quick repayment, but almost never delivered, authorities say.
The indictment alleges Murawski used the money to gamble and for his own personal expenses.
His mother, Pennsylvania resident Mariette Murawski, 79, said she believes there is something “chemically wrong” with her son and that his gambling addiction turned him into a pathological liar. She and her husband relocated from Connecticut to Texas solely to get away from the people coming to her house asking her to pay her son’s debts.
“He’s very good at manipulating people,” she told Banker & Tradesman. “We’ve not been in touch with him for a year and a half, and prior to that it was sporadic. As his mother, I will always love him. I am truly sorry for all the suffering he has caused so many people. I hope and pray that aside for being punished for what he’s done that he can also get some help. He was a wonderful kid. He’s not a wonderful man.”
Scott Murawski said he has not had much contact with Dale in recent years. He recalled his brother’s natural charisma and strong work ethic as a teenager, and said he has trouble reconciling that with the man his brother became – a man who he said.
“I don’t believe he’s an evil person,” Scott Murawski said. “He’s a smooth talker. He manipulates people to do what he wants. It’s sad because it’s a waste of talent. He could have really done something with his life. When he got out of [gambling] rehab, I got him a job selling cars in San Antonio. He blew right past people who had been the number one salesman for years.”
A former friend of Murawski’s, a Boston-based real estate attorney who requested anonymity, described him similarly.
“He got into real estate and he worked for Otis & Ahearn, a great organization,” the attorney said. “He was doing fantastic. He was making money. I’ve never seen anyone get so successful, so quickly.”
The attorney said he never referred a client to Murawski, but Murawski referred several clients to him. He was initially somewhat suspicious of Murawski’s charm, and after hearing some rumors, the attorney’s suspicions were confirmed by a phone call from a mutual client after they closed on a property Murawski sold them.
“I got a call from my clients they said they were looking for Dale,” the attorney said. “He stole $7,000 from my client. That was a huge part of their nest egg. I had known there was one other person who had gone to the police and I told them to do the same. As soon as I started getting phone calls from other victims, I sent them to the cops.”
Kevin Ahearn, president and owner of Otis & Ahearn, declined to comment; the firm did confirm he was at one time employed as an independent contractor. David Friend, who manages the William Raveis office where Murawski worked after leaving Otis & Ahearn, did not respond to requests for comment.
LAER Realty agent Jay McHugh was another of Murawski’s alleged victims who fell for a sob story. After connecting with him on LinkedIn and becoming friendly, Murawski reached out after McHugh had closed a big sale and had some liquid cash, he said. Murawski asked him for a loan, saying he needed money for something related to his divorce. McHugh said he loaned him $6,200 and Murawski never repaid the loan.
“I decided to help the guy out,” McHugh said. “He had a sob story and it was around the Christmas  holiday. He was rushing me into it. He signed a promissory note. He gave me his attorney’s information. I didn’t do a good enough job vetting him. I figured I’d help him out and make a few bucks. The guy’s a scam artist.”
Victims Include Bartenders, Single Mother
Murawski’s most recent alleged local scam took place in January 2016, according to court documents.
After overhearing two young, female bartenders in a neighborhood bar discussing their apartment hunt, he offered to show them the apartment he was living in and claimed to own. The indictment alleges Murawski showed them the apartment, agreed to turn it from a one-bedroom to a two-bedroom at his expense, and collected $4,200 from the women to cover the first and last month’s rent.
Murawski in fact did not own the apartment, according to court documents; he was renting it and facing eviction for non-payment of rent in a matter of days. The attorney general’s office alleges that Murawski cashed the women’s checks and checked into a hotel near the Mohegan Sun Casino in Connecticut.
A Massachusetts Small Claims Court magistrate in March 2016 ordered Murawski to return the $4,200. A week earlier, a magistrate ordered him to pay another alleged victim $6,900. Murawski didn’t show up for either hearing or return the money, according to court documents.
After leaving Boston last year, Murawski was hired in the sales department at software provider Koger USA in Paramus, New Jersey. The company refused to comment, though it did confirm he was briefly employed there. In that short time, former colleague Anita Lung alleges, he borrowed $4,700 from her, which he never repaid.
“He came off always very well dressed and well-spoken,” she said. “Right around June, he approached me and told me he needed a loan for a real estate deal. I gave him a check for $4,700 and he gave me a check as a guarantee, which was, of course, a bad check. He even gave me a promissory note. There were four of us [Koger employees] who got taken. One got his money back. The rest of us never did.”
The AG’s office is requesting anyone who believes they were victimized by Dale Murawski to contact them at 617-963-2910.
Through a spokesman for the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department, Murawski declined to be interviewed for this story. At a hearing on Friday, May 12, the magistrate told Murawski his financial disclosure made him ineligible for a court-appointed attorney. Attorney Andrew Stockwell-Alpert represented Murawski at his bail hearing and agreed to represent him at trial. Murawski’s next court appearance is scheduled for May 25.
“This isn’t something we didn’t see coming,” Scott Murawski said. “We wanted it to catch up with him. He’s where he should be for the time being, until something gets figured out.”
Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to correct the last name of the manager of William Raveis’ Back Bay office.