Commercial Real Estate Blog by Madison
Tag Archives: fraud

Real Estate Fraud – “Stealing” a Home

By: Debra Smith, Associate General Counsel, Madison Title Agency

An increasingly common type of real estate fraud occurs when someone impersonates the true owner of real property and does one of two things- sells the home or obtains a mortgage on it.

Typically, the wrongdoer first identifies a low risk transaction. The wrongdoer may look for a home nearing foreclosure for unpaid taxes. This is very easy information to obtain because so much data is accessible on the Internet now. The wrongdoer will then visit the property and confirm it is vacant. The ideal target has no mortgages (or only a very small mortgage) encumbering it.

The wrongdoer will obtain fake identification in the true owner’s name. He may then sell the property to a bona fide purchaser. He collects the net sale proceeds and moves on to the next victim. In criminal proceedings against Maria Leyna Albertina in Brooklyn a decade ago, it was alleged that she had identified and purportedly “sold” 32 such properties.

There are many variations on this scheme. Continue reading

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Cloudy With a Chance of Defects – The Most Common Real Estate Title Defects

By Danny Wechsler, Regional Business Director, MCRES

Any irregularity within the chain of title to a property will deter the legal transfer of property. These obstructions to the marketability of property are known as clouds on title, or title defects. To protect the new buyer/owner, title defects must be corrected or “cured” before taking title to a property. While there are a multitude of issues that can impact title, some are more common than others.

Here are some of the most common title defects which can render title invalid or create an issue when transferring title. Continue reading

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