California Real Estate Fraud Report

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Archive for the 'Craigslist fraud' Category

Woman Pleads No Contest in Craigslist Rent Fraud

June 23rd, 2017 at 8:29am

A woman pleaded no contest to a felony grand theft charge for taking deposits for rental property she did not own.

The Salinas Police Department had received multiple complaints from people saying that Veronica Lopez was posing as the owner of a Salinas property which was advertised in Craigslist. Lopez took a $1,000 deposit from one prospective renter, who later became suspicious and verified that she was not the owner.

Veronica Lopez was prosecuted by the Monterey County District Attorney’s Office.  Deputy District Attorney John Hubanks from the District Attorney’s Real Estate Fraud Unit and District Attorney Investigator Alicia Cox handled the case.

Read the original article in The Salinas Californian.


Roseville Renter Credited with Stopping Craigslist Rent Fraud

June 5th, 2014 at 7:14am

A prospective renter who met a woman claiming to have a home for rent on Craigslist is credited with stopping a rent fraud scheme.

After one of the prospective renters became suspicious, she drove by the home and discovered that not only was it for sale but that the property owners had not authorized anybody to rent it. The prospective renter contacted Roseville police, who arrested 23-year-old Krissi Peede, charging her with fraud and other crimes.

Read the original article in News10.Net.

San Jose Woman Charged with Grand Theft for Fraudulent Renting on Craigslist

May 16th, 2014 at 8:16am

Monique Morris, 47, was charged with three counts of grand theft  by the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office after its Real Estate Fraud unit investigated her for rent fraud.

In March and April of this year, Morris is alleged to have posted her condo or rooms in her condo for rent on Craigslist. According to the DA’s office, she showed three couples her property, located at 928 Catkin Court in San Jose, then had them sign leases and collected deposits from them.

Read the original article in the Mercury News.

Martinez Man Charged for Rent Skimming in Contra Costa County

February 29th, 2012 at 9:36am

A man has been arrested for rent skimming (rental fraud, real estate fraud) for allegedly renting out foreclosed homes in Walnut Creek, Antioch, Brentwood and Hercules.

Alfonso Salazar, 62, faces charges of burglary, grand theft and perjury for renting out the vacant homes under the guise of his employer National Alliance of Homeowners for Justice. Investigators have not yet determined whether the employer was aware of or participated in the alleged scheme.

Banks often take months to list a property once it has foreclosed, creating the opportunity for fraudsters to change the locks and collect deposits from unsuspecting renters on forums such as Craig’s List (Craigslist fraud), as Salazar is alleged to have done.

Read the original article in the Martinez Patch.

Rental Fraud on Craigslist on the Rise

December 18th, 2011 at 11:10am

As reported on the California Real Estate Fraud Report last year, fraudsters are using Craigslist to rent properties for which they have no authority to either take deposits or rent.

A new article in the Silicon Valley Mercury News details that this form of rental fraud may be on the increase. With more homes going into foreclosure, many are vacant. Real estate criminals look for properties that are vacant, change the locks and begin advertising the properties for rent. Craigslist is probably the most common advertising location as ads may be posted for free.

Some criminals are now advertising homes that are actually listed for sale and creating their own rental ads, hoping to catch a person desperate to rent – perhaps after losing their own home to foreclosure – and collecting a deposit.

If you are looking for a home to rent, heed the advice of Craigslist on its own website:

Never wire funds via Western Union, MoneyGram or any other wire service — anyone who asks you to do so is a scammer.”

If you are uncertain that the person with whom you are speaking is the property owner or works for a property management company, ask for their identification.

There is also an excellent article on rent fraud in the Martinez News-Gazette.


AB 1800 – Rent skimming law – to be heard in State Legislature

August 6th, 2010 at 6:58am

AB 1800, the proposed legislation that would double the misdemeanor penalties for posing as a landlord, will be heard on the California State Senate Floor in August. Posing as a landlord in order to collect deposits from unwitting prospective renters, has been facilitated in by online housing services, especially Craig’s List. With 22% of the nation’s vacancies, California is fertile ground for this form of real estate fraud.

AB 1800 is co-authored by Assemblywoman Ma (D-San Francisco) and Assemblyman Hagman (R-Chino Hills).

Read the full article in the California Chronicle.

California legislators want to make landlord fraud a felony

June 30th, 2010 at 8:54am

As if there weren’t enough real estate-related crimes for consumers to navigate, there is now “landlord fraud”, in which a person impersonates a landlord, usually to rent property he or she does not own to unsuspecting prospective tenants. Craig’s List has often been used by the phony landlords to attract their victims and it is not unusual for the criminals to “rent” the same house to numerous renters.

Out to deter those thinking of scamming would-be tenants, Assemblewoman Fiona Ma (D-San Francisco) and Assemblyman Curt Hagman (R-Chino Hills) have co-authored Assembly Bill 1800, which would elevate the crime of posing as a landlord from a misdemeanor to a felony. AB 1800 has already been passed out of Senate Public Safety Committee with a bi-partisan vote of 7-0.

If you are a renter, always ask a real estate agent to look up the title profile for a property to verify the ownership and the authority of the landlord before you hand over any money.

Read the full article in the California Chronicle.

Former Super Bowl star arrested for Craig’s List rental fraud

June 11th, 2010 at 11:18am

Craig’s List, a great idea for bringing buyers and sellers of products and services together, has also become a magnet for criminals. Rental fraud, a crime in which homes are rented to tenant-victims by non-owners, has in particular become associated with Craig’s List.

In this case, a former NFL fullback and Super Bowl winner named James Hodgins has been arrested for his role in a scam stealing money from prospective renters by fraudulently renting out homes they do not own, according to police. Hodgins’ alleged partner in crime is Carlos Gomez, who was already arrested on suspicion of fraud, theft under false pretenses and burglary.

Victims have been calling in, forcing the District Attorney’s Office to hold off filing all of its charges until the investigation is complete. But according to Oakley police Detective Sean Eriksen “This is going to be pretty big.”

The victims were defrauded when they applied for rentals posted on Craig’s List by individuals using phony names and corporations designed to hide the criminals’ identities. They made cash deposits for the so-called rentals as well as first and last month’s rents. But the homes were vacant, either due to foreclosure or short sales, and according to police were broken into by James Hodgins and Carlos Gomez.

Read the full article in the Silicon Valley Mercury News.

Craigslist a fertile ground for rent fraud

January 25th, 2010 at 9:37pm

The next time you see a home for rent in Craigslist at a price that looks too good to be true, think twice: it might be.

Both prospective renters and property owners wanting to rent their homes are finding themselves victimized by con artists, who troll Craigslist for vacant properties and post their own ads in the hopes of scamming a few hundred or thousand dollars by “renting” a house.

Some of the frauds are caught by the tenants, who see multiple ads for the same property but at different monthly rents. And one ad posted recently by a property owner boldly stated that her property was being fraudulently “listed” by a person she named outright.

According to Laura Upland of the Solano County District Attorney’s Office, many of the suspects are Nigerian, having honed their careers previously in credit card fraud.

In one instance in Vallejo, a woman seeking to rent a house called the number in the ad after her rental application was approved in 20 minutes without her providing her social security number or bank account numbers. She was uncomfortable about sending her deposit via Western Union. When she asked the so-called owner to describe where Vallejo was, he hung up the phone.

Renters: one way to protect yourselves is to ask a Realtor to run a title report to see if the name of the owner on title matches that of the caller. It’s not a perfect system but could help the renter lose his or her money to a thief.

Read the Full Article in the Vallejo Times Herald.

© 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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