California Real Estate Fraud Report

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Mortgage Laundering in the San Fernando Valley

You are thinking of selling your home next year and using the equity to fund part of your retirement or a move to a smaller property. You have spent years building that equity, including keeping your home in impeccable condition in a neighborhood known for pride of ownership.

Your neighbor has just listed his home with a real estate agent on the Multiple Listing Service as a “short sale.” A short sale occurs when a property is sold for less than the value of the loan owed against it.

Despite a tough real estate market, your neighbor’s home sells in one day for cash. Oh, and did I mention the seller and his/her bank agreed to take 10 percent or more off the listed price without the benefit of having the property on the market even one week so that local real estate agents could preview it with their buyers and bid competitively? A listed price that the presumably competent agent determined by analyzing local neighborhood values?

In this example, the borrower sold his home to a relative, one with a different name. He did this so that the lender, which requires the sale to be “arms-length,” was unaware that the new buyer would not be moving into the property, thereby allowing his relative to remain on the premises, which is forbidden under the terms of the short sale. In the long term, the original borrower will most likely “buy” the property back at some point from his relative, achieving a huge write-down in his principal, something I refer to as “mortgage laundering.”

Welcome to the world of short sale fraud, one in which the normal rules of a real estate transaction often fly out the window in favor of unenlightened self-interest, conflict-of-interest, bribes, kick-backs and lack of proper due diligence by lenders. And it often occurs fairly openly because the chances of getting caught and punished are between slim and none.

This article was taken from one I wrote for The Patch.

To learn more about short sale fraud and how it is distorting the housing market and economic recovery, read my book “How to Commit Short Sale Fraud . . . and Get Away with It.” A free sample download is available on this blog.

© 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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