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Series on mortgage fraud in Florida

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by NoOneLikesUs, Jul 22, 2009.

  1. NoOneLikesUs

    NoOneLikesUs Active Member

    Pulitzer perhaps?

    Last in a series on mortgage fraud from the Sarasota Herald Tribune (Links to the other stories are in on this page as well)

  2. poindexter

    poindexter Well-Known Member

    Miami Herald points out that Miami-Dade county isn't even posting foreclosure prices on recent home sales. Everything is just a big bag of fraud.


    M iami-Dade County's online property information has a cult-like following in some circles. There are the professionals who rely on the information for business matters, and home buyers who use it to help measure property values. And then there are the just plain curious, who'll enter the site to snoop at how much their neighbor's house cost or to compare tax bills.

    In fact, since January the website has had almost three-quarters of a million visitors, who visited a total of about two million times. Among them was Grisel Lopez. Today, however, she no longer gives the information the credibility she once did.

    The reason? She recently learned that if a property was bought out of foreclosure the sales date and price won't be reflected. Instead, the site shows the date and price of the previous sale. With foreclosures accounting for a large percentage of sales today, that means that potentially thousands of properties have or will have misleading information on the site.


    Last September, Lopez purchased a home out of foreclosure for just over $292,000. The house had previously sold during the real estate frenzy for $495,000. Curious, she went online a few weeks ago to look up the county's information about her new house.

    ''It had my name,'' she says, ``but it had the old sales date and price.''

    Assuming it was a simple data-entry mistake, she called the county Property Appraiser's Office. It wasn't an error, she was told. Because the sale was a foreclosure, and the Property Appraiser's Office isn't recognizing foreclosure sales, the new sales price wasn't listed and the old, previous price and date remained -- with her name attached to it.

    'I told them, `That's misleading information; you're falsifying records,' '' recalled Lopez, exasperated. Certainly, she thought, someone higher in the command chain would correct the problem. So she made more calls, to no avail.

    Then her father visited the site, www.miamidade.gov, to look at information on other properties he knew had been purchased out of foreclosure. Sure enough, she says, the new owners were listed but the old sales prices remained.

    That the Property Appraiser's Office is knowingly putting out misleading property information is disturbing on many levels, particularly when many of the site's users deem its content to be official and reliable. It is one more consequence of the office's decision to ignore foreclosure sales when assessing values, a move that is helping to prop up property taxes...
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