“I was so sure that we have found the right house until our attorney asked us to confirm before he could have made the wire transfer. Glad, we checked again. It was the third time we were getting all our paperwork verified, which seemed normal before that very day. But we were lucky to find out what we were getting into”, I have heard these statements many times.
However, I have also met people who have lost everything while the purchase or selling of their properties.
I am talking about the real estate scams that are getting prevalent with every passing days. Not all, but many agents who are involved in this domain make false promises and scam people for money. Can you imagine, how it seems to lose the house for which you are still paying to your bank. I cannot and no one who has not been into this situation can.
What I can understand that it is unbearable and the biggest loss one can face. The real estate business used to be sophisticated and genuine and people used to trust these agencies and agents. With increase in the number of scams, buyers and sellers have taken a U-turn.
I met a friend of mine on lunch when he informed me that he can afford the house and he wants to as well. However, he is skeptical about finding the right agency to ask for help. So, you can very well imagine, how these goons have created a market reputation that is not only affecting the clients but the entire industry.
People have witnessed great losses while dealing with real estate agents and know its consequences. Still, these scammers find ways to fool them. This is more dangerous and will soon blacklist the real estate business altogether.
A real estate scam – 6 arrested
There was an incident where 6 people were arrested for allegedly scamming a family that was looking for selling their property. The scam took place in Palm Desert where the duplex was located. The family were not able to pay the loan and were looking to put their house on sale.
The entire scheme was well planned and constituted of half a dozen con artists to accomplish the scam. They used fraudulent pay stubs, escrow files, bank statements, forged signatures and tax forms and made the couple pay $219,000 within five years of time.
Maria Rosas was the real estate agent who helped them with the property selling. The family paid Rosas $1100 for processing of the paperwork. Without the family’s knowledge, Rosas forged their signature more than five times before the short sale was made.
Finally, after one and a half year, the family was informed that Michael Garcia was interested in buying their house and Rosas colleague, Oliver Salazar, processed the loan application for Garcia. The agents claimed through the forged pay checks that Garcia worked at real Palm Desert floral shop. However, when the officers tried to verify that fact, the owner of the shop completely rejected to find any kind of resemblance with that name.
The entire team played their individual role in making the family believe in their lies and succeeded to an extent. It took more than five years to smell something fishy and that is a success in itself.
In the escrow process, the couple made a payment of nearly $30,000 as per the investigator’s declaration. Susan Castellanos, who was the escrow officer forged Garcia’s escrow payment. In this deal, everyone involved including Garcia made thousands of dollars. The case came to the notice when Susan was fired from her office and was confronted of all the illegal transactions she made. She admitted about the fraud.
It is sad that the couple had already made 26 mortgage payments for the property that was transferred on the name of Gracia. However, lies do not have a solid base and soon ends leaving the trails behind.
Police did their job and Rosas, Oliver and other four were arrested for allegedly keeping the family in dark and has been charged for grand theft, mortgage fraud and forgery.
The truth behind the decorated collars
We all know that real estate agents are considered to be white collars with decorated profile and wealthy profiles. However, we never know how many of them have accumulated that wealth on the account of others innocence.
These days, the scam has taken its peak and the news channels are populated with these similar stories. How much we try to keep us safe from these con artists, once in a blue moon, we come face to face. We all need house to either buy or to rent and many other different reasons. There is no hide away.
Some lose everything and some are lucky enough to pull back before it is too late. We need to make people aware of these frauds by coming together and let world know who can be fatal to our savings.
Our duties against these real estate scam
I do not want anyone to fall prey in the hands of real estate scam which is so much prevalent and is not limited by boundaries. But, if anyone has been through that hell, they can voice their story through the online medias like Realtor Scam to bring it to the notice of others.
When you stay in your shell, you feel safe. What if someone breaks that shell of yours? Do not leave these goons from walking away with their hands full. Work towards accessorizing their hands with handcuffs. That is what they deserve.
Even if you did not lose and was lucky enough to get out of the trap in time, still you could do your bit by talking about it. If not you, then someone else is in the same danger that you were few hours back.
The duties are not forced but being a citizen brings its own responsibilities towards your country. So, take the step ahead and plan their future with your hands.