Real estate fraud is unfair, dishonest, and illegal. Those who fall victim to real estate fraud often spend years trying to recover from the financial devastation. The attorneys at Williams Iagmin, LLP have years of experience providing compassionate advocacy and a zealous defense of their clients who have suffered from fraudulent real estate scams and schemes.
Effects of Real Estate Fraud
The effects of real estate fraud can be devastating for the victims and their family. Oftentimes, the family is left without a home or business and potentially out thousands, if not millions, of dollars. The emotional distress can be immense, and trying to recover from real estate fraud can cost a person financial security, potential inheritance, retirement savings, and education funds.
Common Real Estate Frauds
Due to the complex nature of real estate transactions, real estate fraud can take many forms, and all can be financially devastating to their victims. Some of the most common real estate scams include the following:
- Mortgage fraud: Mortgage fraud occurs when a person materially misrepresents or purposefully omits information on a mortgage application in order to secure a loan or a larger loan than a lender would have otherwise given to the applicant.
- Title transfer foreclosure fraud: Foreclosure frauds are almost always perpetrated by a “foreclosure consultant” or other “foreclosure expert.” In a title transfer foreclosure fraud, the consultant persuades a person to sign over the title to the home under the pretense that the owner will be able to rent it back or repurchase it, but the new owner purchases the remainder of the equity and evicts the former owner.
- Bait and switch foreclosure fraud: In a bait and switch foreclosure scam, a person is led to believe that he or she is signing documents that will lower mortgage payments or signs some other agreement to save the home when in actuality, the owner is signing away the property outright.
- Phantom help scams: The phantom help scam occurs when a foreclosure consultant or assistance company promises to help a person prevent a pending foreclosure for a fee but never does anything to help. By the time the person realizes that no work has been done to prevent the foreclosure, it is too late.
- Rent skimming: The term rent skimming refers to a situation when a person purchases rental property and fails to apply it to the mortgage in the first year, or fraudulently rents out property that a person does not own and keeps the proceeds.
- Real estate deed forgery: Deed forgery occurs when a person creates a fraudulent deed to property in his or her name and files it with the state. This allows the person to take out loans using the property as collateral without the actual owner’s knowledge.
- Illegal property flipping: While normal property flipping is completely legal, there are forms of illegal property flipping. Typically, the flipper will make superficial improvements and intentionally misrepresent the value of the home in order to get a higher appraisal value that either a buyer relies on when purchasing the home or the bank relies on to lend more money than the property’s actual value.
- Straw buyer schemes: A straw buyer is a person who purchases a piece of property on behalf of another person who usually has worse credit or would be otherwise unable to buy the property on his or her own.
- Predatory lending: While many predatory lending schemes were eliminated following the housing market collapse, some lenders will still engage in the behavior. Typically, this involves a lender including excessive or unnecessary fees attached to a loan that provide no benefit to the borrower in an effort to increase the commission.
Contact an Expert Real Estate Fraud Attorney
At Williams Iagmin, LLP our attorneys are experts at defending their clients against real estate fraud and holding those accountable for participating in these schemes. If you are a victim of real estate fraud, you may be entitled to financial compensation. Call our office or contact us today for a review of your real estate fraud claims.