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California real estate agent guilty of elaborate fraud

If there's a lien on your property, you can't sell it without paying off the lien. If the lien is more than the equity that you have in the home, it can put you in the position of being unable to even sell the property -- which can become a nightmare if you need to move or can no longer afford the payments for any reason.

Several homeowners in California thought that they'd been sent an answer to their prayers when they were in just that situation -- a local real estate agent convinced at least two families to turn over the title of their homes with the promise that he could get the liens removed, sell the properties for their current market value and then give the homeowners back at least a portion of their equity, minus his fees.

It was all a sham.

The 69-year-old real estate agent would give the title of the home with the lien to a shell company that he owned. Then, using a second shell company that he owned, he would sue the first company over the validity of the lien.

He neglected, of course, to mention to the judges involved in these cases that he was the owner of both the plaintiff and defendant companies -- but he'd have the two companies reach an agreement, get court approval on them and make it seem like the liens had been invalidated -- at least long enough to turn around and sell them to new and unsuspecting owners.

At least two families have already lost their homes and there's no information about what trouble is being faced by the new owners of the properties -- who may have those old liens to contend with now that the sham has been exposed.

Cases like this show just how important it is to get the advice of a real estate attorney if you have a serious problem -- especially if someone is offering you a solution that sounds too good to be true.

Source:, "Former Lafayette Real Estate Agent Pleads Guilty In Fraud Case," July 27, 2017

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