California Real Estate Fraud Report

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Appraiser Cleans Up San Diego Fraud

Todd R. Lackner became an appraiser in 1989.  Since March of 2007 he’s also become a mortgage fraud investigator of sorts and has reported more than 400 cases of inflated-sale and-crash schemes, a scam in which a buyer purchases property for more than its market price, receives cash at the closing of escrow and then lets the property fall into foreclosure. Of course, said fraud requires the help of dishonest real estate agents and appraisers.

The biggest story of inflated-sale-and-crash involves the Beverly Hills ring of developers and real estate professionals who have been indicted for their activities, which have been profiled extensively in the Los Angeles Times, Forbes Magazine, and The F Word.

Now he’s on a roll:

“I’m trying to nail (them)” Lackner said. “Some of these people made well over a million dollars in a couple months time.” He said he remembers well the day the first case came to light. He was doing an appraisal of a home in San Diego and was checking the sales information on comparable properties, Lackner said.While checking comparable home prices in the same area, he said, he noticed that one of them had sold for $70,000 more than the listed price. So, he did a drive-by to check out the property, he said. There was no one living there, he said, and the house was run-down, with an overgrown lawn.He realized immediately that something was wrong, so he went back to the office and began doing research on the real estate agent who had represented the buyer, Lackner said.It turned out, he said, the man had been involved in the purchase of 17 properties over a period of just a few months. All of the sales were suspicious, because the sales prices were significantly higher than the list prices, Lackner said. Ten of the properties later foreclosed, he said.“Then, I knew I was onto something,” Lackner said. “I said, ‘how can people get away with this?’ ”

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© Copyright 2007-2018 Monique Bryher

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The information and notices contained on The California Real Estate Fraud Report are intended to summarize recent developments in real estate fraud, mortgage fraud, short sale fraud, REO fraud, appraisal fraud, loan modification scams, loan modification fraud and other real estate related crimes occurring in Los Angeles and California. The posts on this site are presented as general research and information and are expressly not intended, and should not be regarded, as legal advice. Much of the information on this site concerns allegations made in civil lawsuits and in criminal indictments. All persons are presumed innocent until convicted of a crime. Readers who have particular questions about real estate fraud, mortgage fraud and appraisal fraud matters or who believe they require legal counsel should seek the advice of an attorney.

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