Real Estate Fraud
There is no such thing as a "cheap" house in Arizona. If you think you got a deal, you may have been taken for a ride. At Platt & Westby, P.C., we represent homeowners who believe they have been victimized by unscrupulous sellers into buying a house with defects. Real estate fraud takes many forms, and is a more common phenomenon than one would expect.*
What is Real Estate Fraud?
Real estate fraud is any illegal activity done with the intent of misrepresenting information in any real estate related documents that involves the transfer of money.
According to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS), there are some common types of real estate fraud:
- Two different sets of settlement statements are prepared by the buyer. One set is given to the seller which reflects the accurate selling price, the one given to the lender shows a grossly inflated selling price. This is done to yield a larger loan. When the larger loan is given, the excess is divided among the conspirators.*
- Some buyers use money for the down payment of a home that has actually been borrowed from a friend or relative and claim it as a gift. While this can be an acceptable form of down payment, if that buyer then repays the amount that is considered fraudulent because a "gift" by law is not to be repaid.
- Where the servicer of the mortgage uses unethical and even illegal methods to entice people to obtain or change their mortgage. Once done, the mortgage terms are somehow incredibly damaging, (e.g. the interest rate is so inflated the borrower can no longer afford the mortgage and goes into default). Although this type of fraud is commonly called real estate fraud, it is actually referred to as "predatory mortgage servicing."
While the above are common schemes, there are other actions that qualify as fraud in real estate transactions. Such as non disclosures, or misrepresentations by the seller to the buyer about the condition of a property.
Our lawyers at Platt & Westby, P.C., are experienced litigators who know their way around a courtroom. Our real estate attorneys also possess unique understanding of business functions and real estate investment. This combination of knowledge and skills equip our law firm to provide effective representation to homeowners who have fallen victim to real estate fraud.
We represent homeowners, buyers and tenants in real estate fraud claims arising when a homeowner or tenant becomes aware of undisclosed defects in the property or title, such as:
- Undisclosed property defects: such as undisclosed water leaks, mold, foundation problems, defective construction and other property defects
- Title defects: such as prior liens, underlying foreclosed mortgages, easements and other problems with the title
Our Arizona real estate lawyers are also available to represent victims of fraudulent mortgage lending, or predatory mortgage servicing, who purchased property at an inflated price as a result of an inflated appraisal or other fraudulent scams.
Our real estate fraud attorneys handle cases of nondisclosure of defects and fraudulent sale of lands or conversion of property. Contact us or call 602-277-4441 to speak to a real estate fraud lawyer at Platt & Westby, P.C., for experienced legal advice and representation. We are committed to prosecuting cases of real estate and mortgage fraud to the fullest extent. Arizona law permits injured citizens to sue for and recover in civil court up to three times the amount of their damages, plus court costs and attorneys fees. For your convenience, we serve clients from six office locations in the Phoenix area, including Scottsdale, Tempe, Mesa, Chandler, Goodyear, and Glendale, Arizona.
*Lenders are also common victims of real estate fraud however Platt & Westby, P.C., does not represent lenders.