How Real Estate Investors Can Avoid Wire Fraud

When you close on a property, you’re typically required to bring with you your portion of the funds required to close. And most people choose to wire their closing funds. Unfortunately, when large sums of money are moving around, scammers come out of the woodwork. And that’s exactly what we’re seeing in the real estate industry.

While wire fraud cases differ in the particular methods used, real estate wire fraud cases generally involve someone posing as a legitimate party to the transaction — the closing attorney, title company, real estate agent, etc. This scammer will send authentic-looking wire transfer instructions and may even include other real estate closing documents that look like the real thing, which may even have the correct sale price and other information on them. But using them will result in the money being sent to the scammers’ own bank account instead.

As an example, one recent

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Columbus man faces indictment for fraud related to multiple properties

John Futty
 
| The Columbus Dispatch

A Columbus man whose company was identified in a Dispatch investigation as obtaining and cashing a $38,000 check that belonged to a foreclosed homeowner was indicted Tuesday for that case and other alleged schemes that cost victims more than $400,000.

Carl Levell Renier, 48, faces a 36-count indictment that includes a charge of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity and multiple felony counts of identity fraud, forgery, money laundering, tampering with records, theft and crimes against the elderly, the Franklin County prosecutor’s office announced.

Foreclosed & Fleeced, an award-winning Dispatch investigative series, reported in August 2019 about how some foreclosed homeowners are cheated out of surplus funds that remain after the sheriff sales of their properties. The series prompted an investigation of Renier by the Franklin County sheriff’s office.

The sheriff’s investigation determined that, in addition to the crimes committed against the foreclosed

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Contractor to pay $200K to settle Rochester school construction fraud case

The Rochester contractor Bell Mechanical has agreed to pay $200,000 in restitution to settle a charge that it made false hiring claims in its work on the $1.2 billion Rochester Schools Modernization Program.



a person standing in front of a door: Shawn Rucker, inspector/air control project monitor, leaves a containment zone as he works at the modernization project at East High School in Rochester Wednesday, April 3, 2019.


© SHAWN DOWD/ROCHESTER DEMOCRAT AND CHRONICLE
Shawn Rucker, inspector/air control project monitor, leaves a containment zone as he works at the modernization project at East High School in Rochester Wednesday, April 3, 2019.

Bell and other contractors were accused of fraud in skirting state requirements for the use of minority- and women-owned businesses. Prosecutors alleged that they used a Black-owned firm as a “pass-through” and lied about who actually carried out the work.

In one instance, according to a signed document provided by the state Attorney General’s office, Bell ordered $447,200 worth of materials directly from several suppliers but made payment out to a minority-owned firm, Sunray Environmental, along with a 2% markup. It then claimed SunRay

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A fraud ring was shut down. Then cops say they realized lawyers were in on it.

A married couple’s lucrative foreclosure fraud should’ve ended when they were convicted and locked up behind bars. But the illegal money kept flowing their way — thanks to two lawyers who were helping carry out the fraud, authorities say.

The lawyers, Rashida Overby, 46, and Ria Sankar-Balram, 40, were working in concert with the couple, using their expertise to help steal nearly $750,000 in surplus funds from the sale of foreclosed homes, Broward sheriff’s investigators say.

It was one of the larger schemes to play out in a South Florida: Unsuspecting homeowners — many in over their head with mortgages — were unknowingly being taken advantage of. The married couple, Illya and Patricia Tinker, were part of a ring that illegally took ownership of dozens of homes through the mastery of falsified paperwork. The thieves were making out big — some $12 million in real estate value big, investigators

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Beware of contractor fraud after Hurricanes Laura, Delta

DENHAM SPRINGS, La. (WAFB) – Many people are desperately seeking contractors to make home repairs after Hurricanes Laura and Delta, but it’s important to not let your guard down during this time.



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© Provided by Baton Rouge WAFB
WAFB

“He got the insurance money and gone with it,” said Stacie Thompson.

Thompson says she hired Songy’s Roofing and Construction in June to replace her roof. Four months later, she says no work has been done.

“He required half the money down and he gave me a price. I wrote him a check for $4,500. It was cashed immediately, the same day,” Thompson said.

She says she thought she followed all the rules, such as checking for a license, looking up reviews, and signing a physical contract, but now, she’s left with a damaged roof she says she can no longer afford to fix.

“I had to pay somebody to

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Military contractor charged with fraud on Africa contracts

A U.S. military contractor has been indicted in California for allegedly faking quality control on construction projects in Africa that were so badly done some buildings collapsed, including an aircraft hangar

SAN DIEGO — A U.S. military contractor has been indicted in California for allegedly faking quality control on construction projects in Africa that were so badly done some buildings collapsed, including an aircraft hangar, authorities said Tuesday.

Micheline Pollock was named in a 98-count indictment by a federal grand jury in San Diego, the U.S. attorney’s office for Southern California said in a statement.

Pollock was chief executive officer of Dover Vantage, which between 2011 and 2018 won contracts from the Army Corps of Engineers and Navy Facilities Engineering Command for military and humanitarian projects in Africa.

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