California Real Estate Fraud Report

You have just entered the #1 private-sector resource on the Internet for real estate fraud. In doing so, you have voluntarily left the dimension of the conventional real estate world and crossed over to the Dark Side, the realm where greed, dishonesty and evil are the order of the day. Sign up for a free subscription to this comprehensive news resource and receive weekly, timely news reports about real estate fraud, mortgage fraud, short sale fraud, REO fraud, title fraud, loan fraud, appraisal fraud, affinity fraud, loan modification scams, securities fraud and elder financial fraud. *** AS OF NOVEMBER 2017, THE CALIFORNIA REAL ESTATE FRAUD REPORT IS 10 YEARS OLD! ***


Distressed Homeowners: Watch Out for Scams

Homeowners who are behind in their payments should be on the alert for scams. You may be contacted by companies or individuals offering to help you work out a loan modification with your lender(s) or to provide other services to prevent a foreclosure on your home. If a Notice of Default (NOD) has been recorded against your property, DO NOT PAY anyone an advance fee to assist you. California Civil Code Section 2945 forbids a real estate licensee or anyone falling under the definition of a “foreclosure consultant” from collecting advance fees under these circumstances.

One version of a violation of CCC 2945 has been that some real estate agents are charging upfront fees – almost always demanded in cash – from homeowners with an NOD before listing their property as a “short sale”. If you are presented with such a situation, find yourself a different agent.

The second area of potential violation comes from attorneys, real estate agents or “foreclosure consultants” who are offering loan modification counseling, loan negotiation or similar services. Again, if an NOD has been recorded against your property, advance fees are prohibited by CCC 2945.

On the other hand, if you are behind in your mortgage payments but an NOD has not yet been recorded, you may definitely ask a real estate agent or broker to help negotiate a loan modification or other resolution to your property. In this case, that professional must have you first sign an agreement that outlines what services are going to be performed, when they will be performed and what the fees are. Before the agent has you sign the agreement, it must have been submitted to the California Department of Real Estate for review; if approved, the broker may then use the agreement to collect an advance fee. Make sure you ask them!

For non-profit free housing counseling, contact the Federal Housing Administration or the Hope Alliance at

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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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