May 14, 2007 4:00 AM PDT

Casey Serin: The world's most hated blogger?

WEST SACRAMENTO, Calif.--Casey Serin is on his way to becoming the most hated blogger on the Internet.

With scant income, assets, or business savvy, the would-be real-estate mogul managed to purchase eight homes in hopes of reselling them at a profit. Along the way, he's lost all of them, run up some $170,000 in credit card and credit line debt, and launched iamfacingforeclosure.com to share his woes with the world. (Editor's note: Serin's site was intermittently reachable Monday.)

Financial exhibitionism, coupled with a lack of penitence for stiffing his creditors, has transformed the 24-year-old resident of this sleepy Sacramento suburb into a celebrity among fellow bloggers. But unlike other online celebrities, Serin's stardom comes from a unique source: "haters" who patronize his blog solely to learn what financial missteps he's made today.

"A community formed overnight," Serin said in an interview. "It wasn't a very positive community."

Since launching his Web site last September, Serin has discovered that it can be profitable to outrage and annoy the thousands of people who visit his blog every day. He estimates he was making up to $1,000 a month through Google ads and believes he's on track to make even more through Yahoo's ad network. His notoriety has led to appearances on Suze Orman's and Robert Kiyosaki's advice shows, and he says he's working on a book and advice packet that he'll sell online.

Through planning or dumb luck, Serin has managed to capture an audience by severely irritating many disparate groups: those who blame him and fellow speculators for the housing bubble; devout Christians, who urge him to follow the Bible more closely; and others who are hoping for news that his creditors are suing him and that his petite, attractive wife Galina is divorcing him.

Serin makes it all public, including financial spreadsheets and bank statements, frank admissions that he lied on mortgage applications, and, more recently, his marital strife with Galina. Because her husband has refused to get a job since January 2006, the couple has been forced to move in with relatives and Galina cleans houses to pay for their food and rent.

As a result, the tell-all blog entries have drawn the same kind of highly attentive crowd that might assemble to watch a train wreck in progress. "I guess I'm an open, kind of exhibitionist personality," Serin said.

His legions of critics use less flattering terms. The HousingPanic blog calls Serin "the physical representation of fraud, greed, debt, fear, bubbles and human folly." Another says Serin is "slothful, arrogant, unable to plan, unable to make decisions, easily overwhelmed."

Click for gallery

Hating Serin has become something of a sport among bloggers, who compete with each other to post the most biting critiques of his financial missteps. No fewer than four Serin-hating sites have cropped up, and many others poke fun at how he paid tens of thousands of dollars for real-estate investing courses, ran up $2.2 million in debt by buying houses on credit, and then lost most of them to foreclosure (others were sold at a loss, and Serin estimates he owes an additional $100,000 to $250,000 to the banks to cover those losses).

There's even the sine qua non of a Net-celeb: a Casey Serin Dance Remix mocking his favorite sayings. Doctored photo galleries include images depicting Serin as, alternatively, Gilligan from Gilligan's Island, and McDonald's Hamburglar character. He's already been called a "national obsession."

"Everyone has an opinion and anyone can speculate," said Rob Dawg, who runs a popular anti-Serin Web site called Exurbannation. "Is he mentally ill? Mentally feeble? Do his bizarre personal habits affect his judgement or vice versa?" Dawg wrote in e-mail on Friday. "On and on. For many of us, however, Casey has become the eye of the storm, not the storm itself."

Serin has not filed for bankruptcy, though he has publicly mulled the option. For now, he believes himself to be effectively judgment-proof, with his only significant asset being a run-down Volkswagen Jetta that recently was broken into.

Readers who love to hate
The tension between Serin and his so-called haters has led to an unlikely situation: the very people who loathe him the most also rely on him for a daily source of entertainment.

The concept is sometimes called "irritainment," defined as: "Entertainment and media spectacles that are both annoying and compulsively watchable." (The O.J. Simpson trial in 1995 is the most famous example. Perez Hilton's blog may be another.)

Related audio
Podcast: A blogger with a whole lot of 'haterz'
CNET News.com's Erica Ogg talks to reporter Declan McCullagh about why Serin is so disliked.

Against their better judgment, some haters have become financial supporters. In March, when Serin was facing a collection agency called CashCall, known for hardball tactics, Serin held a "beg-a-thon" trying to raise $220.48 by the next day.

It worked. Readers paid money to get him to answer personal questions, such as explaining why his wife dropped out of college. Someone even paid Serin $250 for the opportunity to rant to him for an hour about financial responsibility.

"I was amazed that the so-called haters were willing to spend money on me," Serin said. "It shows that they're not really haters. They're in it for the entertainment."

Some are. But others are honestly upset and view Serin as an exemplar of the worst of the housing bubble. Speculators who lied on loans, critics say, raised the cost of housing for honest buyers who needed a place to live, and foreclosures tend to reduce property values of nearby homes.

See more CNET content tagged:
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36 comments

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New Idea for Him
Maybe he could get a "System and Method" patent on all this and
sue others of his kind out of existence.
Posted by billmosby (536 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Thank You
Thank you for profiling admitted multi-state mortgage felon Casey Serin; and for including my site as a reference point calling for both Casey and Galina Serin to serve prison time for their crimes.

I apologize for the numerous asterisks you had to use in purging some of the language I used toward the dynamic dumba*ses. But know that the Casey Serin Haterz truly appreciate the depths to which you went to uncover the nefarious activities of these two.

$1.5 billion casino, my left arm.....let's all hold our breath until that happens!
Posted by aspeth (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
People worship money.
It is no wonder that people hate him. He defiles their god.
Posted by CommandHerTaco (43 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I hate Galina too!
She is the poster child for all the sexy girls who flocked to their slick bad-boy guys and treated me and other geeks as if we were beneath contempt during my teens and 20's.

Galina, you married your slickster, and now you have to clean houses instead of walking around the upscale stores looking cute. Good.

No form of debasement is enough for her type.
Posted by Too Old For IT (351 comments )
Reply Link Flag
My God you have issues.
You should spend some of your upscale income on a couple of upscale prostitutes.
Posted by CommandHerTaco (43 comments )
Link Flag
Flipping
Flipping houses should be illegal. If you buy a house, it's because you need to move to a new area for one reason or another. You shouldn't buy a house strictly to make a profit from its sale. I know of a few people that now have multiple mortgages because of failed attempts at flipping. It's not worth it.
Posted by thedreaming (573 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Flipping
Sorry, I live in the UK and my friend does that for a living. Buying run down houses, revamping them and then selling it on for a profit.

Just cause some idiot run up a load of dept doing it doesn't mean it's not profitble for everyone.
Posted by Lex Man (33 comments )
Link Flag
sucks but...
it's capitalism at it's best! Lex Man is right. If you were doing it and making tons of money, you would not be saying anything about it. Let's say your neighbor invested heavily in Enron or some other stock and lost his house, car and everything else. Would you say investing in stocks is illegal? It's not the people flipping who should be held accountable...it's the mortgage institutions who lend people money without doing enough background checks.
Posted by WileySkier (61 comments )
Link Flag
that would suck too much
Having the ability to profit from land/real estate is one of the reasons why America doesn't suck.

It's hard enough for the government to go after people who commit "regular" crimes, like this blogger who's a fraud and a liar, just imagine what would happen if there was an "anti-flipping" law. There are already any number of disincentives for this sort of behavior - mostly having to pay income tax on sale profits if you live somewhere less than three years. I bet you tax is one of the reasons what killed the deals for this dude.

Anyways, flipping only seems profitable when an area is overheated and in bubble mode. These people are punished enough when the bubble bursts. So there's no need to make it illegal...just more houses for auction later on.
Posted by sanenazok (3449 comments )
Link Flag
Only people are to blame
are the extremely rich banks and people that keep funding him. Its not his fault for trying, its obvious that he has to do finicially stupid things to make his "fame" continue. If you want to point the finger, point it @ two things 1) MONEY, it is the root of all evil. Exchanges for goods and services was a better solution but has now been diluted by the exchange of money 2) AMERICA. money and america go hand in hand (just like the powers that be have always wanted). The once was, american freedom is now american finicial freedom. Yes you can come over here and do this or do that, but you cant do that without that thing called MONEY. America is probably one of the "dumbest" and "laziest" populations out there. We complain about $4dollars/a gallon prices and yet we set a record for sales. We expect the best and demand no changes to our current way of life. wake up, we(america) arent that important. Try paying 6-8 dollars a liter!
Posted by Zupek (85 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Where to start...
It's odd how the "dumbest and laziest population out there" (speak for yourself, please) just happens to be the most economically productive as well. Just lazy dumb luck, I guess.

"Money and America go hand in hand." How true. Why did we Americans ever invent money in the first place? Humanity got along just fine without money before we invented it!

"Try paying 6-8 dollars a liter!" No thanks. If you would like to, however, I'll be glad to open a service station near you!

So many easy nitpicks (not to mention spelling and grammar errors, but I guess you need that damn MONEY to learn how to spell and write), so little time...
Posted by J_Satch (571 comments )
Link Flag
What is wrong with you?
Your not one of those self-loathing American apologists, are you? I believe the quote is " The love of money is the root of all evil." Money simply allows a way to put a value on the goods and services exchanged. Nothing more and nothing less. And, yes we are that important. I would take the time to list all the reasons why we are important and why you should realize why we are important but I'm afraid that I've already lost you. If not, respond and I'll fill you in.
Posted by suyts (824 comments )
Link Flag
Casey, the Anti-Meme
My analysis and projections for Casey's site (IAmFacingForeclosure.com) from several months ago regarding anomalous traffic movement of his website. :)

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.realmeme.com/roller/page/realmeme/?entry=an_anti_meme_casey_serin" target="_newWindow">http://www.realmeme.com/roller/page/realmeme/?entry=an_anti_meme_casey_serin</a>
Posted by Broward Horne (88 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Barter
Hahaha. Yeah, let's get rid of money and go back to barter. Anyone want to trade lunch for 10 lines of code?
Posted by solrosenberg (124 comments )
Reply Link Flag
You have to wonder
If bloggers really do hate him that much. After all they have to know that by giving him this much notoriety they've effectively given him an income, or worse, may in the end make the guy rich.

Fortunately his track record shows he will probably just blow anything he makes away, still it seems to me that the best move would be to simply ignore people like this.

Can't say as I hate the guy myself, his so called crimes aren't all that significant when you compare them to Tyco or Enron - the true gods of destroying peoples lives.

Finally you can't go to prison for being in debt. You can go to prison if you committed fraud to get yourself into debt, such as lying on a mortgage application about your income, but otherwise the worst that can happen is you'll end up with bad credit, no home and have your wages garnished to pay back creditors.

Can't say I feel sorry for though, probably deserves everything he's getting.
Posted by ajbright (447 comments )
Reply Link Flag
What about me?
I'm quite honestly fed up with all the media exposure that Serin is getting. I am an AWARD WINNING blogger from Salt Lake City and many people link to me as authoritative.

My success in Real Estate and Olympic Pin Sales have brought me untold riches and it is me who should be held up by the press as a role model.

Just today I was sitting in my expansive garden. I gazed into the 28,000 gallon pond with koi (which are fish)in it and I said to myself, "Nigel, you have everything anyone could want. You have a BMW, you have 12 blogs, you have a POOL... IN YOUR HOUSE; What more could you really want in life?"

Later, when I was sitting in my professionally designed kitchen, I leaned against the high grade counter top and the answer came to me... I want to be just like Casey Serin. Even the love of the entire Jamaican Bobsled Team cannot fill the void in my heart.

I have seen many things in my life. I have met Ziggy Marley, for Christ sake. I have worn the finest leatherette and doused my body in the fancy body spray. I have deleted many comments and I am stickier than any of you will ever know- but I have never had the love of the media.

WHAT ABOUT ME?
Posted by Nigel Swaby (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Playing by the rules as they were designed
Once these folks come out of those "classes" to get rich in real
estate on someone elses money the first thing they need is a
willing lender to participate in the scheme.

I spent four very successful years in the mortgage business in
the 1990's being ethical, but there were tons of people will to do
just about anything to "do a loan". About once a week I got
someone coming through trying to do what Casey Serin was
doing. Stated income, buyer paying the closing, owner
occupied...you name it. All you had to do was check the credit
to know what they and he was doing.

Casey looks like he had a lot of (or just one) mortgage brokers
helping him do stupid and very illegal things. Time for Casey
and the sleazy brokers to go get real jobs.
Posted by Bobbydog234 (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
The New Melt Down
The only thing crazier than the loose mortgage business could be the dot com mania. Will the lost ad revenues hurt these same companies, once these mortgage companies flame out?
Posted by lwp13 (21 comments )
Link Flag
well said, bobbydawg :)
especially mortgage ... sleaze brokers.

Like, going back to Enron, there wasn't any voice in AmeriKa would believe it wasn't the greatest thing since sliced bread. And why?

Because the Wall St. shills on down [not to mention Ken Lay's personal buddy he advised, George Dumbyah!] told the truth. Any decent bookkeeper could have taken a look and said, Where's the product, where's the expense, where's the profit? But no, our financial masters advised thousands to leap into this sure thing. And all were surprised, and no one said "Same, shame, you gits!"

So, yeah, Lay et al got busted. Lay had a convenient heard attack and quick cremation -- so is he in Paraguay now? or is it Uruguay. The experts cannot quite get that one straight ...

I was totally unfamiliar with the specific individual of this article, though following the housing-bubble story for months. And the conclusion for me is inescapable: is it the greedy, such as this case, or the slime who work the system to suck fools into it, who are really responsible?

I remember this apocryphal story of a woman who gets to school late, just in time to hear her son's speech " ... yeah, and my dad's a drug dealer."

Mom drags him out by the elbow and demands to know how he could tell such a lie.

"Well," the son said. "I'd already told them you were a hooker."

"WHAT?!!!"

"Yeah, well, mom ... I didn't want to confess you were a real estate agent and dad was a hedge fund broker."
Posted by NoVista (274 comments )
Link Flag
More details on Casey and our News.com article
Folks:

I wanted to respond to some questions about Casey and my article:

* The links to his site, iamfacingforeclosure.com, didn't work because he was transitioning servers to one hosted by godaddy.com and was having some problems with the move. Unfortunately he chose to do this on a Monday morning instead of over the weekend, when having the site up wasn't as vital.

* The article was edited a bit for space and some of the last section was abbreviated. To elaborate: Galina told me that she initially had agreed with Casey that he should go to Tahoe but then rescinded her permission after considering the cost. She was suspicious when Casey packed his toothbrush and laptop for what was supposed to be a brief drive to go bike riding, and her suspicions turned out to be accurate.

* She forced Casey to return the $600 video camera even with a 15 percent restocking fee.

* Casey said his business credit has a relative as a guarantor, I believe his mother.

* As for "Nouveau Riche University," Casey told me that he has paid them $16,000 but has not made any commissions by signing up the first two people. The first two generated no commissions. Future signups will generate commissions.

* More photos are here:
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://mccullagh.org/theme/casey-serin-iamfacingforeclosure.html" target="_newWindow">http://mccullagh.org/theme/casey-serin-iamfacingforeclosure.html</a>

* Our podcast talking about Casey is here (<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://news.cbsi.com/2324-11424_3-6183605.html" target="_newWindow">http://news.cbsi.com/2324-11424_3-6183605.html</a>). We asked him to join us but he said he didn't get the message in time. We may have him on our podcast on Wednesday if our schedules coincide.

* Yes, he showed me the murse. Very fashion-forward.

-Declan
Posted by declan00 (848 comments )
Reply Link Flag
The end of responsibility
People like Serin subvert the values and principles that built the United States. Why be honest and responsible if you can lie and walk away from debt without responsibility and with little consequence? Serin and his ilk push us further towards disorder and lawlessness.
Posted by dnheller (20 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Hated?
Casey Serin is doing his best to quickly reshape his image, sadly that seems to be a moving target based on whatever knuckleheaded scheme dangles in front of him.

Much like the attention Casey receives, this article tends to just look at the surface (maybe a little under it with the Haterz analysis). <a href="#">Exurban Nation</a> is the hub of the group of folks that have followed this trainwreck for a long time. I don't think anyone there hates Casey, they just know two things.

Initially, people were very receptive and tried to offer much help and great advice in the beginning of this saga. But what unfolded kept people around. Turns out Casey isn't really an entrepreneur as he likes to portray himself, but jsut a low-level scammer who's tried many times to "get rich quick" without actually doing anything. Whether it's actual fraud or other pyramid schemes Casey Serin has a history of trying to play the system only to meet with failure.

Many of these exploits can be found on the other Serin Satellite sites like <a href="http://foreclosureavoiderssavedme.blogspot.com/"> Foreclosure Avoiders Changed My Life</a>, <a href="http://12yearsofbeingannoyedbychloesevigny.blogspot.com/"> Twelve Years Of Being Annoyed By Chloe Sevigny</a>, <a href="http://blogaboutablogaboutablogabout.blogspot.com/"> Blog about a blog about a blog about a blog</a>, <a href="http://whatcaseymeans.blogspot.com">What Casey Means..."</a> and many more.

I don't think any of us hate Casey, I personally think he should shut down and give up his dreams of striking it rich without working. I think most of the Haterz just want to make sure that a once and future get rich quick artist should be shown for what he is, not just the shallow "victim" that has been portrayed in most articles.

He's dug him self a hole that is going to take a long, long time for him to dig out of.
Posted by nigels guest blogger (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Another Reality show.. "in reality".. is ok
WE all have something valuable here, An Example. More settled people may not be as profitable to Serin as the riled up detractors who give their time and interest to him. We all have an example of sorts to learn from. Sometimes the best way to learn is from failures and hardships. What better way than to extrapolate these lessons from another person's life? I have no grudge against Serin for his actions nor for his current mode of success. At the very least it is a function of the market and better yet for me it is an opportunity to learn about people from his example.
Posted by jefframse (20 comments )
Reply Link Flag
casey serin
Baa! Baaa! Baaaaa!The ease with which agents and PR people can turn a freak/ne`er do well/crook, whatever into a million dollar money spinner is beyond beleif. This fella would fit right in most lots of places. Financial ineptitude is everywhere. What am I saying, this time next year he`ll be a millionaire. Baaaaaaaaaaaaa!!
Posted by alanknight (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
In Defense of Casey
Here's a different take on Casey: &lt;<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.quickestore.com/wordpress/index.php/2007/05/18/in-defense-of-casey-serin/" target="_newWindow">http://www.quickestore.com/wordpress/index.php/2007/05/18/in-defense-of-casey-serin/</a>&gt;
Posted by jhoarty (1 comment )
Link Flag
Indian companies discriminate against U.S. citizens for U.S. jobs
Quoting from this Information week article

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.informationweek.com/news/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=199602025" target="_newWindow">http://www.informationweek.com/news/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=199602025</a>

"... Wipro and Satyam note that H-1B workers make up most of their U.S. staffs."

These are H-1b dependent companies, are making no effort to hire U.S. citizens into these U.S. jobs. Satyam, Wipro, and Tata openly discriminate against U.S. citizens for U.S. jobs.

A company with more than 15% of their employees on an h-1b (and these companies are well above that), has to make a good faith effort to hire a U.S. citizen. These Indian It outsourcing companies are not doing that.

Clearly they are breaking U.S. law. The George Bush Department of Labor is doing nothing about this.

In open testimony before Congress, a job applicant made a phone call to a recruiting agency for a U.S. job. She was told they would not interview her, despite her excellent qualifications, simply because she could not be sponsored for an h-1b Visa. This incident was witnessed by dozens of congressional personnel. The George Bush Department of Labor did nothing about this.

Senators Dick Durbin and Chuck Grassley are merely asked for information regarding the hiring and firing practices of these outsourcing companies. And as a result the Indian Commerce Minister is threatening trade sanctions against the United States, for merely asking for such information.

This is a huge cover-up of discrimination againt U.S. workers because of their national origin, on the part of companies operating in the United States. It is so big, that whole governments are motivated to cover it up, that is why India is threatening trade sanctions against the U.S. for even asking questions. And the George-Bush Department of Labor is doing nothing (absolutely nothing) to stop it.

It is time to shine a light onto the biggest case of open discrimination based upon national origin, EVER, in the United States.

Federal Laws against discrimination are being broken. And the United States is being threatened with trade sanctions for asking questions about it, talking about, thinking about it.
Posted by George Barr (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Should he become the next Apprentice?
He should apply for the next Apprentice
Posted by svadoe (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Casey's fleeing back to Uzbekistan
Casey is selling his blog :
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.myebid.com/cgi-bin/auction/view?cmd=view&#38;listingID=4046" target="_newWindow">http://www.myebid.com/cgi-bin/auction/view?cmd=view&#38;listingID=4046</a>



?iamfacingforeclosure.com is now for sale, the Feds are getting too close and I am fleeing back to Uzbekistan, it was fun why it lasted. Thanks everyone!?
Posted by jaimekaren (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
selling his blog?
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://iamfacingforeclosure.com/249/sell-my-foreclosure-blog-for-100000" target="_newWindow">http://iamfacingforeclosure.com/249/sell-my-foreclosure-blog-for-100000</a>

why buy it for 100K or more
when the better option would be
iamfacingbankruptcy.com being auctioned

<a class="jive-link-external" href="https://www.tdnam.com/trpItemListing.aspx?&#38;miid=7623644" target="_newWindow">https://www.tdnam.com/trpItemListing.aspx?&#38;miid=7623644</a>
Posted by mikenyc2001 (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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