The Real Estate Fraud Unit focuses on investigating and prosecuting real estate fraud crimes in Fresno County. This Unit works with various state and local agencies as well as real estate professionals in an effort to educate and prevent such fraud.
Some individuals attempt to steal the money or home equity of homebuyers through fraudulent real estate transactions. The types of cases investigated are frauds that result from various fraudulent real estate transactions and/or schemes.
Report Real Estate Fraud by filling out the Real Estate Fraud Referral Form and mailing to the address at the bottom of the page.
Real Estate Schemes
A lender or mortgage broker promises low monthly payments by consolidating the homeowners debt such as existing mortgages, credit card debt and car loans. The homeowner is pressured into signing a stack of documents and not given time to read them. The end result is a loan that charges very high fees, pay-off phantom creditors and contains terms that are different from what was promised. The lender knows what the homeowner can pay and sets the payments just high enough for the homeowner to default on the loan. The lender then starts the foreclosure process or refinances the loan again charging additional high fees.
Foreclosure Consultant/Equity Purchaser scam
A person representing to be an expert on foreclosure offers to either further help, after a homeowner receives a notice of default and either further encumbers the property or gains title to the property. In many cases this same expert may also take advantage of the distressed state a homeowner is going through while in foreclosure and offers to purchase the home for less than market value and misrepresents to the homeowner the value of the home or encumbrances.
Assumes the identity of another, pretends to be that person, pretends to own their property.
- Sale of property without owner's consent
- Encumbering property without legal ownership
Loan applicant may or may not exist. A real person's name and personal information may be used without their knowledge. Foreclosure results against a person who never was involved in the transaction.
- False application by real buyer
- False information by strawbuyer (flipping) - an individual is solicited and paid for services.
Personal information about applicant may or may not be accurate. Applicant has no intention to occupy property. No down payment is made by the applicant. Title is transferred back to seller after closing. Renters are put into property. Mortgage payments may or may not be made.
Real Estate Links
- RE Fraud Referral Form
- Fraud Alerts
- FTC - Consumer Info
- Contractors State Lic Bd
- CA Dept of Real Estate
- CA Attorney General