There are lot of crooks out there and some of them want to steal your land. On this episode, we talk with real estate fraud expert Julie Lepore, who regularly sees the red flags common with property theft in her job at FIRPTA Solutions in Cape Coral.
Working with locally based Secret Service agents, she has learned the warning signs of land sale fraud, which has become far too common in Southwest Florida. Julie describes what to watch for and how Realtors can protect their clients from unscrupulous characters.
The most common scenario she sees — and there were about 50 fraud attempts identified through her office in recent months — involved foreign "property owners" wishing to sell vacant lots they don't own in Lee County and beyond. In most cases, she says, phony documents — especially passports — are presented as "proof" of ownership by the scammers.
Sadly, the scam isn't discovered until the real owners try to sell the lots themselves. In some cases, buyer-victims build houses on the lots only to have to remove them and lose large sums of money.
Host: Jim Sanville. Producer: Jerry Johnson.