Are Banks Engaging in Short Sale Fraud?

J Philip Faranda January 17, 2010

CNBC is reporting that some banks are being accused of, of all things, bank fraud in short sales. Those of us who sell short sales know that the hardest cases are often the ones with subordinate financing, or in layman’s terms, a second mortgage. If you owe $500,000 on a house with a $425,000 1st loan and a $75,000 second mortgage, then a short sale for $400,000 cleans the 2nd loan out completely. If they are lucky, they will get $3000 from the first lender. They have little choice- if the house goes to foreclosure, they get nothing. 

ON some files, the 2nd mortgage will try and negotiate an unsecured amount to be paid back by the borrower after the closing in exchange for release of the lien. That is their prerogative. It is, after all, money they are owed. 

The fraud part comes when the 2nd lien wants cash paid to them that is not disclosed to the first mortgage holder. In other words, a “side deal” cash payment delivered at closing that is undocumented and not disclosed on the HUD-1 settlement statement. 

So instead of Tony Soprano conspiring to defraud the first bank, it is the second bank. Has it happened? I’d say yes. Is it widespread? Hard to tell, probably not, but once is too many times. Does this surprise me? No. These are the institutions that screwed everything up to begin with. Nothing they do surprises me. 

If you want to buy a short sale in Westchester or the Hudson Valley, or just get a good deal, sign up for a free ListingBook account

J. Philip Real Estate

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