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Fraudulent schemes for buying, selling and renting apartments.

Existing real estate fraud schemes Julius Conley

Real estate fraud is a complex of deliberate actions aimed at illegal acquisition of property rights or monetary assets by deception or abuse of trust. Scammers can be individual citizens, legal entities, sole proprietors, as well as groups of people united by a single criminal goal. Real estate fraud entails the application of appropriate penalties

Existing real estate fraud schemes

In practice, the most common methods of fraud with property when buying/selling and renting it are the following:

submission of a fake power of attorney to participate in the transaction (the scheme involves a dishonest notary who helps to issue a forged document on behalf of the owner of the property to complete the transaction, and after receiving the money, the proxy disappears, and the owner of the apartment / house does not know anything about the upcoming sale);

alienation of an object that is secured by a bank (especially important for new buildings);

deposit payment;

the emergence of unexpected heirs;

the presence of violations on the part of the notary (incorrect conclusion of the contract, registration of the transaction retroactively, knowingly known cooperation with black realtors) , etc.

Apartment for sale with forged documents

According to the articles of the Housing and Civil Code, the alienation of property rights to real estate objects can only be carried out by the full owner of the house (apartment, room).

 

Previously, a Certificate of Ownership Rights was issued to confirm property rights. Since 2016, the owners of real estate are issued an extract from the Unified State Register (Unified State Register), which contains the personal information of the owner and the technical characteristics of the object.

The documents have lost their legal force (for example, the use of an extract from the USRN, which contains information about the owner or about the object itself before they are corrected).

The papers are made independently (this applies to the facts of forgery of official forms).

Official certificates and extracts do not contain mandatory details (seals, signatures).

If the trick is exposed and the intent is proved in the actions of the seller, he can be brought to legal responsibility under Article 159 of the Criminal Code (fraud). For this, the criminal faces the following types of punishments:

 

fine (120,000 rubles or the total amount of salary for one year);

correctional labor (up to 1 year);

forced labor (up to 24 months);

mandatory work (360 hours);

arrest (no more than 120 days);

restriction of liberty or imprisonment (for a period of up to two years).

The article also specifies more severe types of punishments if:

 

scammers – a group of persons acting on prior criminal agreement, and the act of the victims suffered damage in a large size (h. 2);

the intruder – official (part 3) – for the circumstances when the employees of the municipal and state authorities violate the legal order of distribution of benefits or have been denied housing social contract of employment, although the apartments on the distribution are;

the actions were committed by a group of persons on a particularly large scale, or after deception and abuse of trust, the victim lost his property rights to the property (Part 4).

Multiple sales of one real estate object

Realtors-scammers often resort to concluding several contracts with different buyers of property. This is done in order to get a reusable profit. At the same time, the criminal at the conclusion of the transaction passes a full package of documents, confirming their rights to the property, and provides an up-to-date extract from the EGRN for proof of the legal purity of the property. You can recognize the catch if the seller requires you to make a payment before the completion of the reissue procedure without entering into a preliminary agreement. The purchase process should be carried out in the following order:

 

Signing of the purchase/sale agreement.

Registration of the agreement with a notary is not a mandatory condition, but the participation of a lawyer will allow you to confirm the correctness of the agreement and the absence of legal tricks on each side.

Appeal to the Federal Registration Service for changing information about the owner.

Payment of the transaction.

If the buyer handed over the cash to the seller immediately before registration, and then it turned out that the house had already been sold, then you will have to complain to the police in order to protect your personal interests. The actions of a dishonest seller can be qualified under article 159 of the Criminal Code.

Apartment substitution

It is difficult to defend against the actions of scammers, given the ingenuity of scammers. Substitution of the object is possible only with apartments on the secondary market. For the period of registration of the transaction, the signs on the houses and apartments are replaced in order to present a fashionable and comfortable apartment instead of a real squalid real estate.

You can avoid forgery if you independently check the property on Yandex maps, for example. The penalty is applied under Article 159 of the Criminal Code.

 

Sale of the apartment after the death of the owner

The maximum limitation period in cases related to inheritance. The applicant for the inheritance can claim their rights for ten years from the date of the death of a close relative. This scheme is often used by the heirs themselves.

 

Important! The heirs can dispose of the property only after six months and only after receiving a notary certificate on the legality of claims to the object.

 

In practice, the scam looks like this:

 

all applicants enter into their legal rights;

a sales contract is being drawn up;

the new owner pays the full price of the property and renews the documents;

a few months later, a new candidate appears, who was not informed about the death of a relative in a timely manner;

participants have to file a lawsuit in court.

The dispute ends with the termination of the contract of sale and the return of the object to the original owner. The new owner remains without an apartment and without money, because, as court practice shows, the transferred amount has already been spent and it is almost impossible to claim funds from the fraudster in such a large amount.

 

It is extremely difficult to prove fraud in this case, but if it is possible to confirm the criminal behavior of the seller, then his actions can be qualified under Article 165 of the Criminal Code.

 

Mandatory signs of an act under Article 165 are:

commission with the use of deception or by abuse of trust;

the aggrieved party is the new owner (buyer) of the property.

causing material damage;

the amount of damage exceeds the large size (250,000 rubles).

Depending on the circumstances of the offense, the legal heirs who have made claims to the property later than the specified period may also be held liable. If the applicants had a goal in advance – seizing money, then the norms of Article 159 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation will apply to them.

The following penalties are applied as a punishment:

up to 300 thousand rubles of fine (the total amount of two-year salary);

forced labor for two years (in addition, the restriction of freedom for 12 months may be applied);

imprisonment for 24 months (as an optional penalty, a fine in the amount of 80,000 rubles can be applied).

If such illegal actions were committed by a group of persons by prior agreement or caused damage on a particularly large scale, the punishment will be more severe. Such sanctions include:

forced labor for five years (restriction of freedom for a period of up to two years may also be applied);

imprisonment for up to five years (optional penalty-a fine of 80 thousand or a salary for six months).

The seller does not check out of the sold apartment

The law protects the rights of the population, and therefore there is a category of persons who cannot be forcibly discharged from real estate, even when it is sold, the so-called "permanent residents". These categories include:

Minor citizens.

Incapacitated persons.

Single pensioners.

After the full registration of the transaction, the persons refuse to remove their relatives from the apartment register. In exchange for compliance with the terms of the contract, the dishonest seller begins to demand additional payments. Such an owner cannot be punished under the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, so it is necessary to protect their rights in court within the framework of civil legislation.

Actions of the injured party – an appeal to the court for the purpose of declaring the contract invalid. The reason is the absence of a mention in the agreement that a third person will continue to live in the apartment. If there is such a mark, then you will have to comply with the requirements of the contract.

Fraud when buying an apartment with a mortgage

Article 159.1 defines the criminal liability of persons who provided false information and documents to a financial institution (bank) in order to obtain a loan. The same applies to the registration of a mortgage. After proving the borrower's guilt, he faces one of the following types of penalties (Part 1 of Article 159.1):

120,000 fine (salary for one year);

correctional work (up to 12 months), compulsory (360 hours), compulsory (2 years);

arrest for up to 4 months;

restriction of freedom up to 24 months.

A more severe penalty is provided in the following cases:

the act was committed by a group of persons (part 2);

causing material damage on a large scale (1,500,000 rubles) or committing a crime using official position;

causing material damage on a particularly large scale (6,000,000 rubles).

In practice, there are the following types of fraud when obtaining / registering a mortgage:

Cancellation of the executed contract (if it is established that the owner of the share of the apartment is a minor child or an incompetent citizen whose interests were not taken into account when making the transaction).

Alienation of property by the lessee by forgery of documents on the right of ownership.

Sale of an apartment/house that is secured by a bank with a valid mortgage loan.

The aggrieved party the bank-borrower cheats with the collateral, submits a false assessment conclusion in order to artificially increase the value of the property.

Fraud with shares of apartments

When selling a share of the property, the seller must necessarily obtain the written consent of the other co-owners to participate in the transaction. Such permission must be notarized. Otherwise, the transaction will be declared invalid and the object will be returned to the seller.

Black Realtor

A separate point can be identified particularly cynical schemes of black realtors. These are legally savvy scammers who are difficult to bring to justice.

Potential victims: alcoholics, lonely, elderly, dementia, drug addicts, people with debts for housing and communal services, who, based on their difficult situation or helplessness, believe fraudsters.

The most common schemes of black realtors:

scammers are rubbed into the trust in order to get a general power of attorney for the right to dispose of property with the subsequent sale of it, and the person is simply "thrown out" on the street;

unequal exchange of housing;

purchase of a share of the property and subsequent survival from the apartment.

How to avoid buying fraud?

Without cheating, you can buy an apartment if you follow the following tips:

making spontaneous decisions is impractical, especially if the unrealistically low price beckons;

checking all documents;

involvement of specialized specialists to check the object (quality of repairs and utilities);

involvement of a lawyer and a notary in the transaction;

checking the legal purity of real estate;

recording of all stages of the transaction (photos, videos, contracts).

How to check the legal purity of the apartment?

Full information about the object of real property can be obtained from the statement of the Unified State Register of Legal Entities.

Attention! The statement is valid for one calendar month, after which it becomes invalid.

The statement contains the following information:

Detailed description of the object.

Location of the property.

Information about the owner and registered persons.

The presence of financial and other encumbrances.

Other ways to establish the legal purity of real estate:

analysis of prices in the market (a significant underestimation of the cost indicates possible hidden problems);

oral story from the seller/owner about the object and the history of its ownership;

familiarization with the documents for the object and with the owner's passport;

establishing a list of persons who are registered on square meters;

on the website of the territorial judicial department, you can check the information about all the conflicts and disputes that existed in relation to the property.

Real estate scams for rent

Long-term/short-term leases require the signing of a commercial lease agreement. This is necessary to confirm the income of the lessor, as well as to protect the mutual rights, interests and obligations of the participants. As practice shows, it is not uncommon to record the circumstances of fraud on the part of both landlords and users of objects.

Prepayment for rent

There is a lot of competition in the real estate market, so the owners of the property try to "keep" the potential tenant as much as possible. These techniques are also used by scammers. So, when renting an apartment/house for temporary use on the basis of a commercial lease agreement, some owners require a preliminary deposit, as a guarantee of removal.

The calculation should not be carried out, since the legal relationship will be established only after the signing of the contract. You can qualify the actions of a person under Article 159 of the Criminal Code, if a citizen receives an advance payment, and then "disappears" and the transaction is not completed until the end.

Property fraud on Avito

One of the main sources of rental options is the Avito website. The following signs will allow you to recognize a fraudster on a resource:

the cost of the object is significantly lower than the declared quality;

the ad contains images that are not related to the property (from search engines).

The very location of such ads is not an illegal act, but the demand for money as rent can qualify as fraud. Because by fraud, an individual seizes money in return for services that will not be provided.

Long-term lease

Another method of property fraud involves apartments that are rented out by the day. They are rented, for example, for a week. And a week later, the owner comes and finds new tenants who have signed a long-term lease agreement with the first "tenant", and even made a deposit and prepayment.

How not to get caught by scammers when renting (renting) an apartment?

The main ways to protect property interests when renting real estate:

Verification of submitted documents.

The actual check of the apartment for compliance with the address and external description.

Communication with neighbors in order to establish the authority of the owner and the history of why the contract with the previous tenants was terminated.

Signing of a commercial lease agreement (in addition, you can approve the contract with a notary, but this is not necessary, if the duration of the lease exceeds one year, then you will have to register the contract with the Rosreestr).

Attention! Cash transfers are best avoided. It is better to make a transfer to the landlord's bank account, which can be documented.

What should I do if I was deceived?

The procedure for protecting violated rights involves the following steps::

identifying a misdemeanor;

collection of evidence and additional documents;

preparation of a statement to the police.

You can also apply to the Prosecutor's office. But its functions do not include conducting pre-investigation checks, the fraud report will be sent to the police in accordance with the requirements of the investigation, and the victim will lose several days. The only possible benefit is that the statement passed from the prosecutor's office may encourage the police to work more effectively.

Useful: How to make statements on the fact of fraud to the police and the prosecutor's office?

registration of the application and initiation of criminal proceedings;

conducting a pre-trial investigation;

transfer of materials to the court and actual decision - making in the case.

They will allow you to prove your guilt:

personal correspondence;

recordings of conversations;

videos and photos;

screenshots of ads;

explanations of witnesses;

financial documents.

All materials that prove the wrongfulness of the act may be used as evidence.

Legal liability

Apartment scammers act all the time, hunting for gullible customers. As statistics show, police officers register up to five fraud cases per day for each locality with a population of 100 thousand people (statistics are formed taking into account all types of fraudulent activities).

Depending on the method of committing the crime, as well as on the amount of material damage, the further responsibility of the violator will be determined.

Important! Fraud in the sale/rental of an apartment will be considered a crime only after the consequences in the form of causing material damage.

CRIMINAL CODE OF THE RUSSIAN Federation

In the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, fraud with immovable property is included in Chapter No. 21-crimes against property. So, you can qualify the act according to the following articles of the code:

Fraud – Article 159 of the Criminal Code.

The affected party is the bank, when the client, who wants to issue a bank loan, provides deliberately false information to obtain funds (fraud in the field of lending) - Article 159.1. (for example, if you want to issue a mortgage loan).

Causing material damage to the owner of the property by abuse of trust or by deception (165).

Administrative Code of the Russian Federation

If the actions of the perpetrators contain the elements of a legal offense, but it is impossible to qualify the offense under the articles of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, then the police are authorized to draw up reports on administrative offenses. Violators will be held liable under Article 7.21.1 of the Administrative Code of the Russian Federation (causing material damage by deception or abuse of trust).

Grounds for applying the sanction:

The amount of material damage does not reach 250 thousand rubles.

The violator does not actually take possession of the real estate of the person, but commits illegal actions with the property (for example, the owner transfers the property as a pledge to the bank in return for the violator, trusting him, and the owner gives the property to the fraudster because of the fraud of the latter).

The protocol is considered in court in the presence of the victim and the offender. On the basis of the evidence presented, the judge may impose only one type of punishment – a fine. The amount of payments can not be less than 5 thousand rubles and can not exceed five times the amount of real damage.

Judicial practice

Unfortunately, recently there has been an increase in such crimes (especially in the field of trade in household goods). Counteraction from the police does not bring the desired results due to the credulity of the citizens themselves (victim behavior). During the investigation of crimes, it is especially difficult to prove intent to seize property by deception, so only 40% of criminal cases reach the court. If the presented database makes it possible to prove the guilt of the violator (an individual, a real estate agency), then the specified sanctions are applied to the criminals, but it is not always possible to return the money spent to the victims.

 

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