At Stone & Sallus, our Los Angeles real estate fraud attorneys are knowledgeable, educated, and trained in the laws of real estate and fraud. There are many forms of real estate fraud for commercial or residential real estate contracts. Ensure legal obligations are being met and claims of fraud are avoided by working with an experienced real estate fraud attorney.
Real estate fraud attorneys at Stone & Sallus will help you make an informed decision. We will answer all your pertinent questions and provide you a free consultation. As legal experts with strong backgrounds in real estate law, our law firm will fight for your case.
Laws on Real Estate Fraud Explained
Real estate fraud is when someone’s intent is to not tell the truth about real estate, lying about facts and misrepresenting the facts.
Areas of fraud:
- Mortgage Fraud – Mortgage fraud is a serious offense and can lead to prosecution and jail time for convicted offenders. A person convicted of this crime can do up to thirty years in jail and receive up to one million dollars in fines. California Penal Code 487 PC, “grand theft” law states, theft by false pretense can be considered real estate fraud.
- Predatory Lending – Predatory lending is an unethical practice made by a lending organization.
- Foreclosure Fraud – Foreclosure fraud is when someone sells you a property that is undergoing a foreclosure and they don’t own the property.
- Rental Skimming/Rental Fraud – Rental skimming is when the owner of a rental property stops paying the mortgage and pockets the rental income.
- Fraudulent Deeds, Falsification of Documents – Falsification of documents is a crime and a criminal offense. This includes altering, changing, modifying, passing or possessing of a document for an unlawful purpose.
- Fraudulent Disclosure – Disclosures have requirements. A real estate transaction must give a disclosure form to the buyer of a property. Disclosures are made to protect buyers from defects in a property. Defects to a property can include a leaking roof, leaking plumbing, lead paint, or mold issues. Sellers of a residential or commercial property are obligated to inform prospective buyers of any known concerns.
Common Remedies for Real Estate Fraud
When reviewing your dispute, our Los Angeles real estate fraud attorneys from Stone and Sallus will devise an appropriate response.
While every case is different and must be separately evaluated by our attorney, here are two common remedies for real estate fraud:
- “Out-of-Pocket” – Restoring the victim to the financial position enjoyed by him/her prior to the fraudulent transaction, which awards the plaintiff the difference in actual value at the time the transaction between what the victim gave and what he/she received. This rule compensates the victim for the loss.
- “Benefit of Bargain Rule” – Refers to the principle that a defrauded buyer may recover from the seller as damages, which is the difference between the misrepresented value of the property and the actual value received. It is a method of measuring damages in cases relating to fraud.
California Legislation Title 13 Crimes Against Property covers a wide list of punishments against many levels of fraud. In the face of real estate fraud, speak to a seasoned firm to defend you.
Understanding the Legal Duty of Disclosure in California
There are many laws that deal with disclosure obligations. Under the Common Law of California, the seller is required to disclose to the buyer detailed written facts about the property they have on the market (transfer disclosure statement). This disclosure applies to single-family or high-rise condo units including mobile homes. If a seller or seller’s broker violates the duty, they could be liable for damages.
Any fact materially affecting the value and desirability of the property, including but not limited to the physical condition of the property and previously received reports of physical inspections must be noted on the disclosure form. The form can’t be waived, with an “as is” sale, as held in, Loughrin v. Superior Court (1993) 15 Cal. App. 4th 1188. For those seeking to protect themselves in future contracts, consult with a Los Angeles real estate fraud attorney.
Our Real Estate Fraud Attorneys Can Help
Stone & Sallus are legal experts specializing in real estate fraud. If you’re a victim of mortgage fraud, predatory lending, foreclosure fraud, rental skimming/rental fraud, disclosure fraud, call us at 310.889.0233 for a free consultation.