Real Estate Shell Companies Scheme to Defraud Owners Out of Their Homes
The New York Times recently reported on real estate companies that hide behind shell companies to commit fraud against owners of their homes. The article reveals how various homeowners were told unsatisfied promises that resulted in the homeowners losing their homes. In one case, the real estate company promised to refinance two Brooklyn homeowners’ back mortgage payments but the refinancing never occurred and the homeowners realized that they just signed their home over for free. In another case, a woman was left essentially homeless, residing in an illegally converted garage with no heat.
Once the fraud materializes, it is often a challenge to find these real estate companies because they hide behind shell LLC. Even in cases where homeowners do not sign over their property, scammers have reverted to simply forging signatures on deeds.
This is a reminder that you should be represented by either a real estate agent or a real estate attorney in any transaction that involves your home or other real estate holdings. The language and documentation used in transferring real estate is not always so clear. Be 100% sure you understand it, otherwise, you may be literally giving your home away to unscrupulous companies.