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Posts Tagged ‘short sale fraud’

This article in today’s NY Times makes reference to banks being reticent to approve short sale because of a fear of fraud. This is not the first I have heard the concern, and while any fraud is wrong, the argument is a straw man excuse to not streamline the process. Are there fraudulent short sales, where a family member buys and rents back, or an investor is flipping the house at a below market purchase? Yes. Should that ruin it for the 99% of the rest of the people? No, of course it shouldn’t. It is like being against health insurance because there are hypochondriacs out there.

A very small percentage of short sales are fraudulent.

Per the Times:

Concerns about fraud are one of the reasons lenders are so careful about short sales. Sometimes well-off homeowners want to portray their finances as dire and cut their losses on a property. In other instances, distressed homeowners try to make a short sale to a relative, who would then sell it back to them (a practice that is illegal). A recent industry report estimates that short sale fraud occurs in at least 2 percent of sales and costs banks about $300 million annually.

So 98% of the people should suffer? You’ll probably see the similar percentages on shoplifting. Should we close the malls?

It is just another excuse to not do the right thing.

$300 million is a drop in the bucket compared to the massive amount of wealth that has been plundered by the banks’ own fraud and deception. I’ll say it again: In the New York area, and Westchester county, where I am based, the property values are enormous and the dollars at stake for the regular borrowers facing foreclosure are enormous. They need to be treated right and presumed innocent.

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CNBC is reporting that some banks are being accused of, of all things, bank fraud in short sales. Those of us who sell short sales know that the hardest cases are often the ones with subordinate financing, or in layman’s terms, a second mortgage. If you owe $500,000 on a house with a $425,000 1st loan and a $75,000 second mortgage, then a short sale for $400,000 cleans the 2nd loan out completely. If they are lucky, they will get $3000 from the first lender. They have little choice- if the house goes to foreclosure, they get nothing.

ON some files, the 2nd mortgage will try and negotiate an unsecured amount to be paid back by the borrower after the closing in exchange for release of the lien. That is their prerogative. It is, after all, money they are owed.

The fraud part comes when the 2nd lien wants cash paid to them that is not disclosed to the first mortgage holder. In other words, a “side deal” cash payment delivered at closing that is undocumented and not disclosed on the HUD-1 settlement statement.

So instead of Tony Soprano conspiring to defraud the first bank, it is the second bank. Has it happened? I’d say yes. Is it widespread? Hard to tell, probably not, but once is too many times. Does this surprise me? No. These are the institutions that screwed everything up to begin with. Nothing they do surprises me.

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