An Overview of Real Estate Fraud Defense in California
Fraud is generally known as concealing or misrepresenting specific facts in order to induce another to act in a certain way that would be harmful to his or her personal interests. When it comes to real estate, fraud is theft that is made in connection to the real estate transaction. The state has criminalized theft and categorized it by degree: petty theft and grand theft. Under the State of California’s Penal Code §487, grand theft happens when the real property, labor, or money is taken from another is a value that exceeds nine hundred and fifty dollars.
The Prosecution’s Burden of Proof in Real Estate Fraud Cases
Essentially, in order to convict a person of real estate fraud in the form of grand theft, the prosecution will need to demonstrate the following:
- The accused intentionally and knowingly deceived the mortgage lender or the real estate owner through false and/or fraudulent representation;
- The accused deceived the mortgage lender or homeowner with the intention to persuade him or her to allow the taking of the property ownership or loan proceeds;
- While relying on the deceit, the victim allowed the accused to take a hold of the property’s ownership or loan proceeds.
Identifying the Various Forms of Real Estate Fraud
There are multiple forms of real estate fraud. A few of the most common involve:
Mortgage Elimination – Mortgage elimination occurs through eradication – programs that offer financial borrowers a way out of the mortgage in a relatively fast time. In this type of fraud, a borrower can be convinced that there is a loophole that will allow for the mortgage to be paid off quickly. Fraudulent companies will usually charge a premium for this service.
Foreclosure Rescue – Foreclosure rescue fraud is committed as a type of a leaseback. In these cases, the accused company will tell the desperate mortgage holder that it is possible to save the home by temporarily transferring the home title to the company. The company will then promise the homeowner that he or she can remain in the home and pay rent. Meanwhile, the company will sell the property once the title has been transferred.
Unlawful Property Flipping – Property flipping involves purchasing a property and quickly reselling it for an inflated value. It should be noted that there is a very fine line between property flipping for profit and unlawful property flipping. Under current state laws, unlawful flipping occurs when this violates the state’s fraud laws.
Protect Your Rights, Hire a Well-Versed Real Estate Fraud Attorney
It is evident that there are variations of real estate fraud cases. Overall, however, all of these cases have one single thing in common – they often have life altering consequences. If you or someone you know has been charged with real estate fraud, it is critical to consider seeking the support of a skilled attorney. Obtaining experienced legal counsel can help make sure that the case is resolved as quickly and as smoothly as possible.
The criminal defense attorneys at Milligan, Beswick, Levine & Knox, LLP are highly skilled in the field of real estate fraud cases. The firm works vigorously to defend the rights of those who have been impacted as a result of real estate fraud charges. Contact the firm today for a free case evaluation.
Stephen Levine, is a Board Certified Specialist in Criminal Defense — an honor achieved by only the top criminal law attorneys in California. Mr. Levine has over 40 years of experience in criminal defense and family law serving Southern California, and is a highly regarded Super Lawyer as well as AV Rated attorney.