REAL ESTATE LITIGATION
FRAUD IN REAL ESTATE
The real estate fraud and mortgage fraud involving to the followings:
– House flipping
– Use of straw buyers
– Submitting fraudulent information on mortgage applications
– Underwriting irregularities
– Over-reporting income
– Failure to report secondary residence
Before the subprime mortgage disaster, real estate investors would purchase a property and upgrade it in order to resell it at a profit. When the bottom began to fall out of the market, a number of real estate investors found themselves burdened with multiple mortgages they could not clear or no longer afford. In the process, debts and other financial information may not have always been accurately reported on mortgage applications.
In other instances, real estate investors who could not qualify — or did not want to qualify — for a mortgage using their own information, used “straw buyers” to front for a loan. This could be a relative, a friend, or a colleague. After the purchase and sale of a home or property, the real estate investor would then divide a portion of the profit with the straw buyer.
In both kinds of fraud, investigators often assume there is criminal intent where there may be none. While ignorance of the law is not a defense to being charged, it may mean the difference between having the charges and sentence against you reduced or dropped and spending years in prison. That’s why our criminal attorneys tell our client’s side of the story, providing information that prosecutors often ignore in trying to paint the worst possible picture of a defendant.
As such, a defendant who may have strayed outside the law in order to buy time to regain his or her financial footing and set things right is different from someone who intentionally falsifies information as a grifter or crook. Unfortunately, prosecutors don’t always distinguish the two.
An Unlawful Detainer lawsuit is a suit brought by a landlord to obtain possession of the rented property and receive payment of back rent. In order to legally evict a tenant (remove and lock the tenant out of the property), the landlord must file an Unlawful Detainer lawsuit.
If you are served with an Unlawful Detainer complaint, the complaint will show the court location where you should file your answer. You have five days to respond in writing to the landlord’s complaint. After you have filed your written answer to the landlord’s complaint in the clerk’s office and an At Issue Memorandum is filed by the plaintiff, you will both be notified by mail of the time and place of trial. There is a filing fee when you file your written answer. However, it is possible to obtain a waiver of the fee if you cannot afford to pay. In order to obtain a fee waiver, you must file an Application for Waiver of Court Fees and Costs at the time you file your answer. The Application for Waiver of Court Fees and Costs form may be obtained from the Clerk’s Office.
If the case goes to trial and the landlord wins the Unlawful Detainer lawsuit, the court will issue a judgment for possession. To enforce the judgment, the landlord will then obtain a Writ of Possession that directs the Sheriff to enforce the judgment for possession of the property. This legal document authorizes the Sheriff to physically remove and lock you out of the property. The Sheriff’s cost from the eviction may be added to the judgment, which the landlord can collect from you.
The Sheriff will serve you with a Notice to Vacate the property before enforcing the Writ of Possession. After the Sheriff serves the notice, you have five days to move. If you fail to move within the five days, the Sheriff will physically remove you and turn over the possession of the property to the landlord.
“Eminent domain” – also called “condemnation” – is the power of local, state or federal government agencies to take private property for “public use” so long as the government pays “just compensation.” The government can exercise its power of eminent domain even if the owner does not wish to sell his or her property.
The Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution provides that private property may not be taken for a public use without payment of “just compensation.” Similarly, article I section 19 of the California Constitution provides that private property may not be taken or damaged by the government unless it pays “just compensation.”
The items for which a property/business owner may generally attempt to seek just compensation are (1) real property, (2) improvements pertaining to realty (sometimes referred to as fixtures and equipment), and (3) business goodwill. Just compensation for these items is generally the “fair market value” of the item as of a particular date. Each of these items is discussed in further detail in the questions and answers which follow. In addition, occupants may be entitled to relocation benefits which are generally determined separately from just compensation.
Under the California Constitution, property and business owners are entitled to have just compensation determined by a jury.