by Brian Mahany
Almost every day, someone calls up to discuss a possible fraud case with us. People lose their money through Ponzi schemes, investment frauds, accounting and legal malpractice and securities fraud. With 37,000 monthly readers to our blog, we are asking you today for help. Do you know of mortgage companies that are committing fraud by using inflated or bogus appraisals?
Until the mortgage meltdown, it was common for appraisers and banks to have a cozy relationship. Sometimes too cozy. With rapidly climbing real estate prices, no one really got hurt if the appraiser was a little too loose on their appraisal. So the house is only worth $150,000 and not the $200,000 it was appraised at – no one was worried because in a few months, the rising real estate market would make that house worth $200,000. Then the unthinkable happened.
In 2007 -2008 the housing bubble burst. Housing prices began to drop. In some areas of the country like Nevada, California and Florida, housing prices dropped by almost 50%.
New regulations are designed to assure that appraisers are truly independent and not paid off to lie, fudge the numbers or look the other way. In at least one big case we are investigating, the lender simply created their own appraisal company to make it look like the appraisal company was operating at an arm’s length. These types of fraud are what we are seeking.
If we think you have a case, we can file suit on behalf of the taxpayers and attempt to collect back any losses attributed to the fraud (taxpayers often back private mortgages through HUD and other agencies.) As the person coming forward with the information, you may be entitled to a substantial award.
Whether it is appraisal fraud in context of residential mortgages or any other type of fraud, call us. Our fraud recovery lawyers are presently handling one of the largest qui tam (federal False Claims Act) cases in history – a $2.5 billion claim against Allied Home Mortgage Company.
Mahany & Ertl, LLC – America’s Fraud Lawyers.