FRAUD occurs when a person knowingly or intentionally conceals, misrepresents, and makes a false statement to either deny or obtain some monetary benefit or otherwise profit from the victim. The key to conviction is proving in court that the suspect knowingly or intentionally made the misrepresentation or concealment.
What is Real Estate Fraud?
It can be many things, but for the most part, Real Estate and Mortgage Fraud are committed when someone like a seller of the home or the real estate agents conceal or fail to disclose facts about the house which if the buyer had known, the buyer would not have bought the house. Real Estate Fraud is also committed if the seller, Realtor, or builder makes a false representation of material facts about the house that was intended to induce you into making the contract. In other words, you were duped into agreeing to the deal because the seller or real estate agent made a false representation of an important fact. Real Estate Fraud can be committed by the home seller, the realtors involved in the transaction or a builder. California laws and specific statutes address issues of Real Estate and Mortgage Fraud.
Examples of Real Estate and Mortgage Fraud include:
Elder Abuse and Reverse Mortgage Fraud
Reverse mortgage fraud frequently involves elderly homeowners who have either paid off their mortgages or owe very little on their homes. We assist elderly homeowners to recover damages where they are victims of Reverse Mortgage Fraud schemes where they have been deceptively lured into entering into a loan so that the fraudster can generate loan fees. Most seniors’ primary asset is their home. When seniors are victimized through mortgage loan fraud or when caretakers and others defraud them out of title to the property, elders risk losing their home or tying up the title in a legal mess. Elders who have been victimized are not only stripped of their dignity but are often swindled out of their life savings.
Collecting fees in exchange for deeding the property to third parties who falsely promise to delay or prevent foreclosure.
This frequently involves making a refinance loan that is loaded with excessive or unnecessary fees and that provides no real benefit to the borrower. Unfortunately, the refinance loan is subprime even though the borrower would often qualify for mainstream mortgage loans.
ID Theft/“Straw” Borrowers
Use of another’s personal information to obtain a loan, with or without their consent.
Foreclosure Bailout Schemes
This involves a promise to rescue home in foreclosure while renting the home back to the original owner.
Home Equity Fraud Schemes
This fraud involves door-to-door contractors who also arrange to finance for their work through a home loan. Often there is no “improvement” at all. The work is substandard or left incomplete. The homeowner generally ends up deeply in debt and in grave danger of foreclosure after contractors are long gone.
Rental fraud involves a con artist renting a property which they don’t own, such as an abandoned or vacant property, and disappearing after collecting rent and security deposits.
Other Examples of Real Estate and Mortgage Fraud
Include foreclosure bailout, home renovation scams, rental fraud, and deceptive timeshare scams. The con artist fails to make mortgage payments and the victim inevitably winds up in foreclosure.
Do not let anyone talk you into . . .
- Signing blank documents of any kind;
- Deeding or granting away your home to any third party or entity ;
- Paying in advance for loan modification services—this is illegal as of 10/11/09 per SB 94
- Making an “investment” secured by real estate without verification of all representations regarding the borrower, property and current state of title;
- Providing your personal information (date of birth, social security number) unless you are certain with whom and why you are doing so;
- Signing documents that state different terms than those explained to you by the person seeking your signatures.
Our lawyers are highly skilled and accessible to get personal attention to every matter.