Declare YOUR Home a Sovereign Nation

Real Estate Agent with 1st Action Real Estate

Just when you think the real estate fraud scamsters are all out of business along comes a timely reminder that they're not gone, just morphed into one of a myriad of other schemes designed to separate people from their money and/or their homes. 

When I told a few people about this latest one their response was 'Surely nobody is stupid enough to think their home can be declared a sovereign nation?' All I can say is - desperate people do desperate things, and there's a lot of desperate people out there right now. And though I haven't seen the names of the rest of the perpetrators or a list of victims, based on probability I'd bet the victims names are almost exclusively Hispanic.  Because perpetrators most commonly prey on an affinity group, one that may lack investment sophistication, lack real estate knowledge and may be more trusting of someone who 'looks and speaks like they do'. 

It's up to us, in our individual markets, to get the word out there. We have the opportunity to educate not only our own members to recognize this type of fraud, but to educate members of the public as well. In may areas law enforvcement is either too lax, too unsophisticated to pursue this type of crime, or simply too overwhelmed to do much about this. Offer to work with law enforcement to provide heads-up and/or research info for them. Offer to write articles or commentary for your local newspaper or business journal. Encourage your local Realtor Association to start a public section or BLOG to post public service information. 

Troubled homeowners target in real estate con

5:40 a.m. January 11, 2009

— Authorities say a ring of criminals bilked distressed San Diego homeowners by persuading them they could declare their properties to be independent nations.

The district attorney's office in San Diego says homeowners who were facing foreclosure were told they could buy "land patents" that would make their homes sovereign nations.

The idea was that bank officials then would be barred from coming onto their property.

One suspect, 55-year-old Jessica Refuerzo, was arrested Friday. Two other suspects remain at large and two others were arrested earlier.

At least 17 victims lost tens of thousands of dollars in the scheme.

fraudRemember... Realtors are part of the solution - not part of the problem.

Visit the Mortgage Fraud Group and post your warning. 

Gene Wunderlich - Selling Southwest California Homes including Temecula, Murrieta & The Southern California Wine Country
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Remember, Don't wait to buy real estate - Buy real estate and wait.
' Declare YOUR Home a Sovereign Nation'
The opinions in this commentary are strictly Gene Wunderlich's personal opinions. While any reasonable and/or rational indivdual should agree wholeheartedly, the opinons reflected herein may not necessarily be those of SRCAR/GADBLOG, ActiveRain, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, The Valley Business Journal or any local or state government or other mental institution. 


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Vickie Nagy
Palm Springs, CA

It's amazing that crooks can come up with this stuff, and even more amazing that they can dupe people into participating!

Jan 13, 2009 04:02 AM #1
Emily Schuyler
Smart Click Realty - Roseville, CA
Realtor Roseville, CA, Lic# 01768964

Hi Gene,  I just heard about this on the news last night.  It's crazy that someone came up with this scheme!   You are right, we need to help educate and get the word out about this.

Jan 13, 2009 04:16 AM #2
Lou Ludwig
Ludwig & Associates - Boca Raton, FL
Designations Earned CRB, CRS, CIPS, GRI, SRES, TRC

Hi Gene

Very good and timely advice, thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Good luck and success

Lou Ludwig

Jan 13, 2009 04:26 AM #3
John Walters
Frank Rubi Real Estate - Slidell, LA
Licensed in Louisiana

If these people would use their brains for something legal maybe they would give mankind something useful.  Nah, I guess not.

Jan 13, 2009 06:06 AM #4
Craig Rutman
Helping people in transition - Cary, NC
Raleigh, Cary, Apex area Realtor

It's amazing how some people use their powers for evil instead of good.

Preying on people who are in trouble is most dispicible.

Great job getting the word out Gene.

Jan 14, 2009 03:30 AM #5
Steve Dibert
MFI-Miami - Fort Lauderdale, FL

When I was a broker up in Michigan I used to get the Michigan Militia types and wannabes  who would argue with me that the land patent was between them and the federal government therefore the banks couldn't foreclose. They claim they had come ruling from some "judge" in Colorado saying they were right. 

Here is how land patents actually worked.  When the US government acquired new territories with the Northwest Ordinance, Louisiana Purchase and Manifest Destiny, etc., they would then plot out the land and sell it at auction.  The buyers would then receive a Land Patent for the parcel.  A Land Patent is essentially a Warranty Deed or Deed of Trust depending on how the terriorial government decided to do it.  However, when the buyer sold the land his claim and any rights conveyed on the Land Patent were extinguished.  Most Land Patents have now been extinguished in the continental US since Arizona was admitted into the Union in 1912.  After WW2 most of the remaining Land Patents were converted into the Warranty Deed system or Deed of Trust system.  Most conspiracy theorists (like the militia types) claim this move was illegal.  Then again, these are the same people who try to argue that the IRS and Federal Reserve were illegally created without congressional approval

Jan 18, 2009 12:43 AM #6
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Gene Wunderlich

Realtor & Legislative Liaison
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