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Friday, September 7, 2007

Your full service scam company

I saw an interesting real estate sign in front of a house yesterday that claimed to be a combined real estate and financing company. That’s unusual and I thought that all they would need to do is to add an appraiser into a company like that to have the complete mortgage fraud set-up. Now to make the picture complete, it would be great if the principals were Ralph Dewey, the real estate broker, Roger Cheatum, the mortgage broker, and William Howe, an appraiser. They could call the company Dewey, Cheatum & Howe. I’d love to see that on a real estate sign. I’ve included the appropriate graphic for the sign above.

We are still seeing new cases of mortgage fraud, even after all of the news spotlight and actions at the state and federal levels. The current round is, in some cases, actually piggybacking off the foreclosures of the earlier round, by picking up foreclosed houses at sale prices that are inflated over the foreclosure prices (with perhaps some seller’s concessions at closing) or by flipping the foreclosures at the normal (pre-foreclosure) price (perhaps to a fake buyer) and scrapping off the instant equity. Of course most of the “principals” involved in those deals are never seen again.

Another scam is to buy the house out of foreclosure with a 100% mortgage and then rent it out. The scammers make no payments on the mortgage, but they get 6 or more months of income from the renters, until the next foreclosure eviction occurs. Sometimes the renters know what’s going on; but many times the eviction notices surprise them, too. There’s a scammer for every occasion.

Of course, we’ve all seen stories and articles about the “foreclosure workout” companies that are themselves scammers. They convince the unsuspecting homeowner to sign over the deed to their home as part of a workout plan. They make no payments either but may turn around and sell it to a third party (sometimes also a scammer) and make off with the proceeds. The new “buyer” usually turns out to be in on the scam and may even be using a stolen identity. It just gets deeper and deeper. There are some good credit advice companies out there that specialize in helping homeowners work things out to avoid foreclosure. Go to my Web site and click on Foreclosures and Short Sales in the left hand menu bar to see a few that I’ve found.

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