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San Diego Real Estate Attorney

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					     how to report suspected
        real estate fraud                                                                    R E A L E S TAT E F R A U D P R O G R A M

1. Prepare a chronology of the events       district attorney office locations
  that took place.
                                                     San Diego – Hall of Justice
2. Note who was involved, including the        330 W. Broadway, San Diego, CA 92101
                                                          (619) 531-4070
  names and addresses of the people
  and companies.                              North County Branch – Vista Courthouse
                                            325 S. Melrose Dr., Ste. 5000, Vista, CA 92083
                                                           (760) 806-4079
3. Describe what you were told, and by
                                             East County Branch – El Cajon Courthouse
  whom. What were you told that you           250 Main St., 5th Floor, El Cajon, CA 92020
  later learned was false?                                  (619) 441-4538

                                                          South Bay Branch
4. Include copies of all documents you       333 H St., Ste. 4000, Chula Vista, CA 91910
                                                            (619) 498-5650
  signed, or that were given to you,
  including grant deeds, quitclaim deeds,      Juvenile Division – Juvenile Courthouse
                                             2851 Meadowlark Dr., San Diego, CA 92123
  trust deeds, reconveyances, assignments               (858) 694-4254

  of deeds, notes, contracts, agreements,
  escrow instructions and statements.
                                                 Real Estate Fraud Program                     if you’re the victim of a real
5. Also include copies of canceled
                                                                                               estate scheme, we can help
                                                330 W. Broadway, Ste. 750
  checks, or money orders (both front
                                                   San Diego, CA 92101
  and back), that you gave in payment
                                                     To report fraud, call:
  or that were given to you as payment.
                                                     (619) 531- 3552
6. Call (619) 531-3552 or request
  a complaint form via email:
  reform@sdcda.org.

                                                                                                      Bonnie M. Dumanis
                                                    www.sandiegoda.com                                 District Attorney
A Message from your District Attorney:                Real Property Crimes                                                Foreclosure Fraud

                                                           Real property crime can take many forms, but most                   This fraud affects the distressed homeowner who is
     The dream of home ownership remains              often involves grand theft, forgery, and a relatively recent        unable to make his mortgage payment, has no equity in his
one of the most important goals for many San          scheme, identity theft. Below are samples of the types of           home because of falling property values, and only wants
Diegans. Owning one’s home or business is a           cases we investigate and prosecute:                                 to salvage his credit and walk away from the property.
source of pride and security, and provides an                                                                                  The seller is approached by a purchaser who offers to
opportunity for financial growth. Unfortunately,      • Fraudulent real estate investment schemes, typically
                                                                                                                          take title to the property in exchange for curing the defaults
real estate fraud scams can steal these dreams          involving the sale of trust deeds. Trust deeds may be
                                                                                                                          and saving the seller’s credit. The purchaser may sweeten
with a single forged signature or get-rich-quick        unsecured, or inadequately secured. Payoff funds may be
                                                                                                                          the deal by agreeing to carry back paper he has no intention
scheme.                                                 diverted by the agent servicing the debt. The servicing
                                                                                                                          of paying. By knowingly making such false promises, he
                                                        agent may continue making monthly payments to the
     The San Diego District Attorney’s Office is                                                                          commits foreclosure fraud and perhaps theft upon the seller.
                                                        investor so that the theft is not discovered.
dedicated to the investigation and prosecution                                                                                 The same criminal may commit grand theft by marketing
of real estate-related crimes. Attacking real         • Use of forged escrow instructions to steal escrow deposits.       the property to unsophisticated victims who lack any
estate crimes and other white-collar criminal                                                                             knowledge of escrow or title insurance. The victim makes
activity is one of our top priorities, which is why   • Fraud in private sales of property, such as failure to            a cash down payment; receives an unrecorded grant deed;
the Real Estate Fraud Program exists within             disclose all liens against the property.                          moves in; makes monthly payments to the suspect, and is
the Economic Crimes Division. We will not let                                                                             evicted several months later by the legitimate purchaser at
                                                      • Fraud in installments land sales contracts. The seller may
individuals empty the pockets of unsuspecting                                                                             the foreclosure that was looming when the scam started.
                                                        accept payments from the buyer, but fail to pay the
San Diegans.                                            underlying mortgage, causing the property to be foreclosed.
     If you suspect you are a victim of real estate                                                                                    You may also find help at these
fraud, or have knowledge of such activity, please     • Forgery of grant deeds. By assuming the identity of the                          agencies & organizations:
report this information to the District Attorney’s      true owner, or claiming to represent the true owner, the
                                                        thief fraudulently obtains title to a property. He then borrows                  Department Of Real Estate (DRE)
Office as directed in this brochure. Through                                                                                  (619) 525-4192 (General Inquiries) • www.dre.ca.gov
                                                        against the property, or sells the property, stealing the
our collective efforts, we can protect individuals
                                                        equity. The typical target of such a scheme is a property                    Office Of Real Estate Appraisers (OREA)
from fraudulent activity and provide a safe
                                                        with a large amount of equity, most likely an elderly                        (916) 552-9000 • www.orea.ca.gov
real estate market.
                                                        owner. A common scenario is that the thief claims to be
     With your help,                                                                                                                Lawyers Referral & Information Service (LRIS)
                                                        the trustee of a family trust by presenting forged trust                     (619) 231-8585 • www.sdcba.org/lris/
the District Attorney
                                                        documents and claiming that he has the authority to sell
Real Estate Fraud                                                                                                                       Department Of Corporations (DOC)
                                                        or encumber the trust property.
Program will make                                                                                                                     (866) 275-2677 • www.corp.ca.gov
San Diego County a                                    • Forgery or alteration of a trust deed or grant deed before
                                                                                                                                              San Diego Association
safe and honest real                                    recording. For example, the loan amount on a trust deed                           Of Realtors – Mediation Center
estate market for us                                    may be altered to look like the borrower owes much more.                        (858) 715-8020 • www.sdar.com
all.                                                                                                                                     San Diego Housing Commission
                                                      • A scheme known as “flipping” where the value of a
                                                        property is inflated using a phony appraisal, and the                           (619) 231-9400 • www.sdhc.net

                                                        property sold to an unsuspecting buyer, who then owes                             Contractor’s State License Board
                                                        far more on the home than it is worth.                                         (800) 321-2752 • www.cslb.ca.gov

				
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posted:7/12/2009
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