So what have we stumbled upon? Bizarre coincidence that we found some super expensive homes in the worst area of the Grove? Were the buyers in love with these tiny homes therefore making them pay these extraordinary prices? Hardly. What we've found here is a honey hole for scamsters, see this is the perfect spot since its a poor area but within close proximity to an expensive area. Anyone from Miami knows these homes aren't worth remotely what they sold for, but throw in a crooked appraiser who inflates the value of a subject home using comps from the better area close by then throw that appraisal in front of a bank that's out of state who isn't familiar with the area and VIOLA, you get the base ingredients for FRAUD! Sure you're a little skeptical, you might think, hey this is nothing but the gentrification of a poor area, but you're wrong.
Lets look at another example of the same scenario but in a different area, lets go to whats called Miami's Upper East side and the Buena Vista area. For years these areas had degenerated into a haven for drug dealers and prostitutes but little by little things started to clean up, there are homes in the high six figure low seven figure range in these areas. For the most part the gentrification of this area goes as far west as Miami Avenue, to the east you have refurbished old Miami homes that fetch a premium then to the west you have similar homes that are worth far less. The redevelopment never got west of Miami Ave, perhaps because of the proximity to Little Haiti, regardless though, Miami Ave is like a fence, the people from the east side don't cross! Now imagine if I'm a scamster, I can pick up one of the homes on the west side for a song then get a dirty appraiser to run up the appraisal using the comps from the east side, put it in front of a bank who doesn't know the area and BAM, another recipe for fraud. Throw in a straw buyer whose going to sell the scamsters his credit and WE'RE GOOD TO GO!
Makes you wonder huh? Do you think the Mortgage Fraud Task Force knows about this? See how we've brought a whole new group of people into the fraud? See how there's areas that are rife with scams? Who loses? Sure the banks lose, but in the end we all lose through increased property assessments which lead to increased property taxes, the neighbors lose since these busted out homes usually remain empty and become a haven for drug dealers which in turn lowers the property values for the legitimate home owners. In the end its a lose, lose situation. In my opinion this is where the task force and the state attorneys office should be concentrating their energy on.
Now back to our friend Jorge Baluja, I wonder what he thinks of these over appraised shacks that we found in the grove. Jorge, what do you think of $500+ per square foot?
Sadly enough the Detective is probably more concerned with the possible theft of the missing hubcap on the car than the real crime at hand! Have a good weekend guys.