Crusading against Real Estate and Mortgage Fraud, 100 People at a Time
To help kick off RISMedia's 2nd Annual CEO Exchange (July 23 & 24 at the Sanctuary Golf Course and Clubhouse in Salida, Colorado), I will be providing each attendee a complimentary copy of my latest book, Protect Yourself from Real Estate and Mortgage Fraud: Preserving the American Dream of Homeownership, co-authored with Rachel Dollar, a legal expert in the mortgage lending industry.
If you're unfamiliar with the CEO Exchange, it's an exclusive gathering of over 100 top brokers and Real Estate industry leaders for the purpose of discussing the most pressing issues facing the residential real estate industry today, and as Rachel and I point out in the new book, the most pressing issue is the proliferation of fraud in the Real Estate and lending industries. Real estate and mortgage fraud are a cancer that is eating away at the very foundation of the American Dream of homeownership.
According to the FBI, Real Estate fraud is one of the fastest growing white-collar crimes in the U.S. From 2003 to 2004, reports of mortgage fraud jumped 146%, and another 28% from 2004 to 2005. Reported dollar losses from mortgage fraud increased 90% from 2003 to 2004 and 136% from 2004 to 2005. Currently, lenders report over $1 billion in losses annually from mortgage fraud, and this accounts for only about a third of the losses actually suffered (only a third of the industry is subject to mandatory reporting requirements).
Industry leaders have long known about this growing problem, but con artists are able to adapt as quickly as new legislation is passed. In my experience, the best defense is education-teaching Real Estate professionals as well as consumers exactly what constitutes fraud, how to spot the signs of fraud, how to stop it, and how to get the word out about con artists and their accomplices.
I view the CEO Exchange as the perfect opportunity to further the crusade against Real Estate and mortgage fraud. By getting our book into the hands of industry leaderswe can take advantage of the trickle-down effect. Once industry insiders and thought leaders read the book, they will sound the alarm, and the rest of the industry will begin to take the threat more seriously. By becoming educated and joining forces, we can defeat the con artists and preserve the health of the Real Estate.
Protect Yourself from Real Estate and Mortgage Fraud: Preserving the American Dream of Homeownership provides real-world examples illustrating exactly how real estate and mortgage fraud are committed, pointing out the common signs of each scam, and providing tips on how professionals and consumers can protect themselves from becoming unwilling victims or unwitting accomplices. Topics covered in the book include:
- Defining real estate and mortgage fraud.
- Demonstrating the catastrophic effects of fraud on individual homeowners; the real estate industry; and local, state, and national economies.
- Differentiating between fraud for profit and fraud for housing.
- Identifying common schemes and schemers, including asset rental, air loans, chunking, double sales, straw buyers, nominees, and faulty appraisals.
- Spotting the warning signs of a fraudulent real estate deal.
- Proven tips and tricks for avoiding fraud and steering clear of gray areas in your real estate transactions.
- Practical advice for real estate agents, appraisers, mortgage brokers, investors, title companies, lawyers, and homeowners.
- Reporting fraud: One person can shut down a shady deal. Why you need to be that person and what you should do when you suspect fraud.
- Guidance on what to do if a con artist has victimized you or a relative, friend, or acquaintance.
- Advice on what to do if you or a loved one has knowingly or unwittingly been involved in a fraudulent deal.
This is just the beginning of a revolution in the real estate and lending industries to take back control from the con artists and other opportunists who are committed to milking the industry dry for their own benefit.