For over a half dozen years I have taught classes on Real Estate Scams and Fraud. Agents would fill the classes but there were many that would argue that the "fraud" I was talking about was perfectly legal and being done every day. In one real estate office in Pierce County every agent in class at the time was involved in some aspect of a fraudulent real estate transaction! Not only that, but I went to a class from the Washington State Association of REALTORS and an attorney teaching was condoning all the types of fraud I was warning about! She asked if anyone in class had taken a Fraud Class from my school? Then the attorney proceeded to tell everyone how the information was wrong and that you CAN inflate the sales price on a transation as long as the information is on the blank addendum. I sat there AGAST! There I was almost daily teaching about fraudulent mortgage and real estate transactions while attorneys, loan officers, banks, the news, real estate brokers etc.. were all deciding they didn't want to be left behind when they could make some quick cash... Because... "everybody is doing it!!!"
I spoke at the Washington State Department of Licensing Real Estate Commission meeting back just after the new milennium began about the surge of fraud and they even dismissed it. One broker on the commission said there was "no fraud in his office!" And, I knew actual transactions that were happening with his agents that were totally fraudulent. I did get a section added in the first Core Curriculum on Predatory Lending!
I had no idea that the mortgage industry would take such a drastic tumble... that the real estate market bubble wouldn't pop it would EXPLODE!
I wish that there were more people that contributed to the fraud were prosecuted and sentenced. Today the Seattle Times reported about one case but it is just like what everyone was doing. Why aren't they reporting about dozens of cases being taken to court. Where is all the money that these people made in this "fake" market that was created?
Now, the scams out there surrounding Short Sales are multiplying. They are hurting the banking industry even worse. And, yet, agents tell me... "but at least my listing SOLD!"
Follow your gutt... if it looks like a fish, feels like a fish, smells like a fish... it is a fish.. no matter how hard you try to convince yourself it isn't a fish! The same goes for FRAUD!