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Sunday, July 12, 2009

Crooked Investors - My Experience with a Dirty Deal in Miami

Mortgage Fraud and Bad Realtors - My recent experience with a Dirty Deal in Miami

Last month I had a deal fall through which involved an Investor, a shady Realtor, a questionable Lender and an alleged Title Company the Investor worked with.

It began a couple of months ago when a Realtor called to say he was working with a Buyer (who was also an Investor) and they were sending an offer on my listing. I thought it was strange since they had not even gone inside the home - first red flag. I figured the home was priced so well that the Investor just wanted to grab the deal before it went under contract with someone else.

The Realtor sent me an escrow letter and seemed to be doing his due diligence - the Investor waived the inspection but did an appraisal - no problems....yet. A few weeks down the road I receieved no documentation and no calls from the Title Company. I suspected the Investor was trying to flip the home before the closing date - when I questioned the Realtor he swore that was not happening. Each time I contacted the Title Company no one was ever there. Every time I questioned the Realtor about his Investor-Client he had an excuse. The deal eventually went out of contract and we didn't close on time but I had no other offers so I hung in there...hoping it would work out.

Finally, several weeks went by and we gave the Buyer a deadline to produce a loan committment - otherwise the Seller wanted to make a claim on his deposit. I then received a call from the Title Agent saying the Lender suddenly went out of business and could not fund the loan. They sent me a letter from the Lender on company letterhead stating this but the letterhead had no address or phone number on it - there was no record of the company at all. I researched the Lender and the Title Company and could find no record of either one being a legitimate business with the Florida Division of Corporations: http://www.sunbiz.org/corpweb/inquiry/cormenu.html

I spoke with an Attorney about making a claim on the deposit and he told me it wasn't worth it. I later found out that the same Realtor and Investor Team had another deal going on with another Agent in my office and the same exact thing happened. Apparently the investor and broker are just placing offers on low priced homes hoping they can flip them before anyone catches on.

It's a shame that someone would take advantage of a desperate seller. Unfortunately, as long as the housing market remains on life support there will be vultures circling overhead.

Investigative Reporter Mike Mason
Mike@MikeMason.Biz

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