Some Crooked Agents Aren’t Agents At All

Just because they look like a real estate agent and act like a real estate agent does not make them an agent. In fact, they may be one of America’s crooked agents, or just someone posing as one. Some fraud victims learned the hard way that John Patrick Ingar was not a landlord, but a man posing as a Realtor to make a quick buck. Continue reading

Banks Foreclose without Papers

A foreclosure is pretty much the worst situation a homeowner can go through. It is stressful, embarrassing, and incredibly difficult to lose a home. Because of this, the government has created extensive regulations regarding foreclosures. These consumer protections are very important and do a lot of distressed homeowners. However, they only work when the banks actually follow the rules. Continue reading

Mortgage Fraud Leads to Eviction

Refinancing a home should be a straightforward process. You get a new loan, pay off the old loan with the proceeds, and maybe pocket a few dollars in the process.

That is what nursing aide Imogene Hall had in mind when she needed to tap her home equity for $50,000 to help pay bills in between jobs. The home, which she had bought for $80,000, was now worth quite a bit more, so she decided to use the asset to help her get through some tough times in the bottom of the Great Recession. Continue reading

Reverse Staging – Trashing Your House To Reduce Value

Normally sellers try to stage their home to get the best sale price possible, but a new trend emerged during the housing bubble burst that takes the opposite approach: reverse staging.

What is reverse staging? Reverse staging is purposely damaging a house to force a lower sale price. Why would someone want to do that? Mortgage fraud. Continue reading

Landlord Fraud with Counterfeit Checks

Experienced landlords work hard to qualify applicants before handing over the keys, but some fraudsters do not even need the keys to take money from a well meaning property owner.

A Chicago area landlord took an application from a couple along with a check for their deposit and first month rent. The landlord deposited the $1,250 in the bank and began paperwork to move the couple in when he received a fateful phone call. Continue reading

Squatters Get Scammed

A real estate broker discovered strangers living in what was supposed to be an unoccupied home she was trying to sell on behalf of the owners.

Realtor, Melissa Case was hired by Debra Stewart to sell her property through a short sale. Upon arriving at the property Case found two individuals were already living there. Anthony Loquiao and Gayalea Risley claim they paid a deposit and signed a one-year lease agreement with another Realtor for the home in October. Loquiao and Risley now believe they may have been duped. Continue reading

How to Avoid Rental Scams and Spot Fake Landlords?

When times get tough, crooks get busy. Bad guys are always out for a the next way to make a quick buck while praying on the needs of their victims. Real estate is not immune to this, and one trend that has grown over the last few years is the fake landlord scam.

All around the country, fake landlords are offering showings on foreclosed, bank owned, and vacant properties. After giving a tour, the fake landlord offers fraudulent rental forms, accepts payments for a deposit, first month rent, and last month rent. Once the payment clears, the fake landlord vanishes with your money, often leaving behind only a disconnected phone number. Continue reading

Hiring a Friend as a Real Estate Agent Could Cost $4.3 Million

Most people would think they are making a smart decision hiring a friend as a real estate agent. But 34 people found out the hard way that you can’t always trust your friends. In Irvine, California, an agent was caught in a real estate fraud scheme worth more than $4 million. Continue reading

Broker on ‘Million Dollar Listing New York’ Under Investigation by State for “A Little White Lie”

As I’ve always said, virtual tours can be a nice enhancement to a listing photograph, but too much enhancement should be considered an unethical practice and should also be considered fraud.  Here is an example of too much enhancement. Continue reading

Open House Thief Caught

In Columbus, Ohio, police caught one of two suspects believed to be responsible for a number of area robberies that took place during Open Houses.  When local Realtors first became aware of the problem they started photographing vehicle license plates of people entering their clients’ houses.  These photos eventually helped to track down the suspects and catch one of them. Continue reading