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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.

We Represent Victims of Real Estate Fraud

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 Firm Has Been Trusted by Clients Since 1973

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.

If you have a legal question, contact us. We can help.


Melissa Keiper
Melissa Keiper
00:40 22 Feb 18
I wrote in to a law message board asking about a step in my case and Mr. Peter Westby replied with some sound advice. I emailed him to thank him for his advice and shared with him I was not being represented. He offered to meet with me to go over my case and possibly about representing me. In our meeting he allowed me to give him all the details of my case and he spent a good amount of time offering advise and insight to the law pertaining to my situation. Mr. Westby was very patient and allowed me to ask multiple questions and was thorough in his answers. Because I live 2 hours away and in a different county (Tucson), and because my case will most likely go to trial and the cost of travel for him to represent me I am unable to retain Mr. Westby as my attorney. However, if this were to be taking place in Phoenix I would hire him in a heartbeat. I appreciate his willingness to talk with me and spend his time assuring me about the steps i'll need to take in my case. He was very prompt in his reply to my question and then for scheduling a phone conference to go over a case he prob knew he wouldn't be able to take given the distance.read more
Lance Wallace
Lance Wallace
16:44 04 Jan 18
I've worked with Pete Westby on a few matters over the years and I do recommend him and his firm. It is nice to talk and work directly with a principal of the firm who has both integrity and tons of experience.read more
John Rukavena
John Rukavena
23:25 12 Oct 17
Meet with Peter today and was very impressed. I had a large tile job that was done improperly and was not sure if a lawsuit made economic sense. Peter was straightforward and told me that if the contractor did not have sufficent assets, a lawsuit would be risky because a favorable court decision might not result in a payout. I now know what I need to do thanks to Peter.read more
David Hughes
David Hughes
17:08 08 Nov 17
Mr. Westby was great and very knowledgeable and the staff was friendly and very responsive and kept me informed every step of the way... I would and will definitely recommend Platt & Westby P.C. to friends and family.read more
Jordan P
Jordan P
19:07 04 Sep 17
We went in for our free consultation regarding our legal concerns and we were very happy with our experience and outcome of our situation. Mr. Rahtz was professional, informative, and helpful. I would recommend him for anyone seeking legal counselling. Thank you to Mr. Rahtz and the rest of the team at Platt & Westby.read more
Kenneth Crayton
Kenneth Crayton
07:30 22 May 18
RahtzHe gave me his undivided attention and seemed to genuinely care. In my experience, it has been very tedious and daunting to begin a conversation with an attorney, especially one at a law firm with other partners, etc. That is, usually law firms won't lend an ear, it seems, unless you pay $100-300 initial consulting fee, which is basically a $15 overview of your case and whether they think it's worthwhile$$$.However, not only was I surprised to see Attorney Rhatz offer a no-cost consultation, but he also kept it "real." He advised me with information that even seemed to work against his assumed interest in profit (i.e., he didn't try to exploit me for money), such as by providing me with self-help research suggestions, and even helped me put together an outline for my case.He didn't want me to lose more money winning with him (he didn't want me to spend so much money to retain him, that even if winning the case, I'd still be at a net negative dollar-loss).He gave me his undivided attention, asked questions that showed he actually paid attention, and was very resourceful with directing me towards credible sources of jurisprudence.What's more, is that he didn't throw me out after 15 minutes, but rather stayed with me until he felt I was sufficiently informed with the material and answers to questions to send me along my way.This man even read through all my notes and connected with me as a person.I also appreciated his aggressive, but civil, nature towards vanquishing the countering party. He is strategic, he is prepared to preempt the countering party's legal arguments by first calling them out himself, and sparks reassurance that he is sedulously and astutely on the case.Obviously, I would recommend attorney R Andrew Rahtz for the aforementioned reasons, despite only meeting with him one time on an preliminary consultation.read more
Paulo Soares
Paulo Soares
01:38 11 Jul 18
Mr. Westby really knows his stuff, and gave me some excellent advice. I will be back to move forward on my situation.
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