In a recent article published in the LA Times by Lew Sichelmen, he paints a distressing picture of the ways white-collar, and now blue-collar, thieves steal millions of dollars from home buyers and investors who are unaware of the scams. Lately the FBI has reported a sharp increase in the reports of suspicious activity in the real estate market.
“The bureau will get more than 60,000 suspicious-activity reports this year, he said at a recent conference in Chicago. By comparison, it received a record 46,700 reports of suspicious activity in fiscal 2007, up from 35,600 in 2006.” That is quite a great leap in the two years.
It is important to look at the details, and to watch for some of these cons. One is the old trick of an inflated appraisal to pay for the “incentives” that home builders are giving to buyers. These incentives are build into the appraisal without the notice of the appraisers. Also many are using con men to have the home buyers pay, and in the end the con man does not make the payments and the house ends up in foreclosure. Never be too careful who you trust with your home, especially in these crunching times.
“Broshears, the FBI’s point man on mortgage fraud, estimated that the feds’ investigation is likely to uncover $3 billion in mortgage losses.”