Real Estate Leaves One Investor High and Dry

In Sacramento, Calif., not far from where prospectors sought quick riches in the gold rush more than a century ago, another speculative boom is going bust.

This time, however, it's not the lure of precious metals -- it's real estate.

"The market was hot, and I decided to give it a shot," said Casey Serin, a modern-day speculator who hoped to strike it rich quick by buying homes, fixing them up and then flipping them for a profit.

The Lure of Quick CashSerin said he has always had an entrepreneurial spirit. Born in Uzbekistan, the 24-year-old came to the United States with his family in 1994 and became a U.S. citizen nine years later.

After graduating from high sch