Reblogger Gabe Sanders
Real Estate Agent with Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales 3090099

This is something we should all be aware of and take the proper precautions:


Original content by Richard Zaretsky

Fraud - Losing your home - Identity Theft - these are all scary words and for good reason.

It has been 12 years since I wrote my first blog on fraudulent deeds and what I wrote then still is true today.  It was my most read article over the past 12 years.  Today, technology and services offered by the various public recording offices can be used to "push" notices to you if your name has appeared in any new filing in the Public Records of a county in which you own property.  I urge everyone to sign up for this service.  It can save you a ton of aggrevation and money and alert you to theft of your identity and your real estate!  Typically the service is called "property fraud alert" and you can sign up at your county clerk's website.  For example, here in Palm Beach County you can sign up HERE. Sign up NOW!

Now back to the story - a story in various forms that we have seen year after year:.......

It is a day past Halloween, but here is a scary TRUE story:

My office is presently working on a case that is so prevalent that I thought posting it on my blog would be helpful.  The matter involves a single person who bought a home 5 years ago. 

It is a nice house, in a great community.  He bought is for investment, paying about $400,000 and getting an 80% mortgage.  It is his second home in South Florida, and his other home is about 5 miles away, but that is seldom used as he works in another state.

He put a renter into the house, using an established Realtor for find her.  The renter paid her rent regularly without any problem every month.  About one year into the lease, the homeowner paid off the mortgage with extra cash he earned.  He also extended the lease for the renter, using the Realtor for the paperwork.

The renter apparently had a friend with whom (we would later learn) lived in a previous house with her.  Shortly after the extension to the lease was executed, the renter created a quit claim deed from the owner to herself, and recorded it for nominal consideration.  About 3 months later she sold the house to her friend for $500,000.  Her friend took out a conventional mortgage for 80% and the renter took back a purchase money mortgage in 2nd position, which covered most of the remaining cash to close.

The owner was alerted to the deeds when his Realtor called him because she was just updating her files and checked online for his real estate taxes - seeing the tax collector was showing the wrong owner for the property.  She went to the property and it was vacant. 

No mortgage payments were ever made on the home by the "new" purchaser.

After more than two years of litigation, the Quiet Title case is going to court.  The real owner has not had title to the home and missed the ability to sell it in the right market.  Plus he has the legal expenses associated with the recovery of title of the house. Fortunately the title underwriter paid off the fraudulently acquired mortgage, so we only have to get rid of the 2nd mortgage and the fraudulent deed and the deed subsequent to it.

The perpetrators are no where to be found.

Of course a glaring question is the notary on the Quit Claim Deed - we are gathering evidence that should put that person out of business - or at least authenticate the claim on the insurance bond (which is limited to a nominal amount).  This is a primary example for notary publics to keep a log of what they notarize along with copies of identification of the signing parties for every transaction.  It is a HUGE pain, but is there a better way?

I don't know the moral of this story.  I guess it is .... IT CAN HAPPEN TO YOU (or your clients)!

If anyone has a similar story to relate - please share it!

Copyright 2007 / 2019 Richard P. Zaretsky, Esq.

 Be sure to contact your own attorney for your state laws, and always consult your own attorney on any legal decision you need to make.  This article is for information purposes and is not specific advice to any one reader.

Richard Zaretsky, Esq., ZARETSKY LAW GROUP. ATTORNEYS AT LAW, 1615 FORUM PLACE, SUITE 3A, WEST PALM BEACH, FLORIDA 33401, PHONE 561 689 6660  RPZ@ZARETSKYLAW.COM  - FLORIDA BAR BOARD CERTIFIED IN REAL ESTATE LAW - We assist Brokers and Sellers with Short Sales and Modifications and Consult with Brokers and Sellers Nationwide!  New Website

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Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Gabe how interesting you reblogged this post, I was on the phone with a client who shared with me how he lost a home about the same time and it was due to a "refinancing" and he "trusted" the person who filled out the forms.... anyway get the idea, Endre

Feb 27, 2019 10:23 PM #1
James Dray
Fathom Realty - Bentonville, AR
Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results

Morning Gabe.

Hmm, good to know I'm not a landlord, never have been, never will.  If I were I would have very renter fingerprinted and photographed.  

Feb 28, 2019 12:58 AM #2
Nina Hollander
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Charlotte, NC
Your Charlotte/Ballantyne/Waxhaw/Fort Mill Realtor

I had not heard of this scam previously, Gabe. What a great selection for a reblog... it's a lot of food for thought and something to discuss with clients who own rental property.

Feb 28, 2019 03:41 AM #3
William Feela
Realtor, Whispering Pines Realty 651-674-5999 No.

It is scarry.  I for one see this as a reason for NOT doing Electronic sigs.

Feb 28, 2019 04:23 AM #4
Roy Kelley
Realty Group Referrals - Gaithersburg, MD

Thank you very much, Gabe, for sharing this excellent reblog selection.

This is quite a story.

Feb 28, 2019 08:13 AM #5
Sheri Sperry - MCNE®
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Sedona, AZ
(928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR®

HI Gabe Sanders - there are a lot of scams going down. They are targeting real estate. We just had get hit with ransom demand.

Feb 28, 2019 12:18 PM #6
George Souto
George Souto NMLS #65149 FHA, CHFA, VA Mortgages - Middletown, CT
Your Connecticut Mortgage Expert

Gabe fraud and identity theft is widespread and we are all vulnerable to it.

Feb 28, 2019 02:17 PM #7
Elyse Berman, PA
Best Connections Realty, Inc. - Boca Raton, FL
Boca Raton FL (561) 716-7824 CRS, ABR, GRI,ePR

Wow, thanks for reblogging this Gabe.  I had not heard of it either, but I just signed up and will reblog it, as well.

Feb 28, 2019 05:02 PM #8
Gabe Sanders
Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales - Stuart, FL
Stuart Florida Real Estate

Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to read my re-blog.

Mar 09, 2019 08:50 AM #9
Gabe Sanders
Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales - Stuart, FL
Stuart Florida Real Estate

Thanks for your comments. It’s always good to hear from you.

Mar 09, 2019 08:51 AM #10
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Stuart Florida Real Estate
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