Welcome to PropertyTalk and thanks for sharing your experience. It is very much appreciated and as you say you are young yet you're getting stuck in with investing in property. Yep not everyone is honest - a valuable lesson has been learned. However you're not necessarily alone - Dissindat may be able to help you.
Keep us posted -
.....a lot more effort has to go into the due diligence part of property investing when you are purchasing abroad and relying of locals to support you. A good property management co. is a must - I have found - its way to risky trying to do it all without a team on the ground working on your behalf.
PM me. I can also help and put you on to the right team to get it sorted. i.e. fix up and rented proper etc.
These guys blew me away with their speed and workmanship when doing our reno's in Phoenix.
To everyone on this thread, if you're investing foreign, go there, look your self, form your team.
As for Phoenix, the market has turned from the bottom for sure. Stick with tile roofed 3/2's near good schools and you'll be on a winner.(100 - 150k range)
The foreclosures are getting being bid well up so you need to be on the ball if flipping.