Way back when when I first started writing this blog, before we somehow got all politicized and started writing about political goings on in South Florida, we used to write about fraud, specifically financial and mortgage fraud. Despite how much fraud we investigated and wrote about, with a few exceptions the authorities that follow our blog, DOJ, FBI, ICE, MDPD, City of Miami PD, etc for the most part ignored what we'd written. Here we are now several years later and it seems like one of two things have happened, our nearly 1000 posts have become a treasure trove of information for law enforcement who are now getting around to investigating some of the people we wrote about or our blog has become an excellent resource for victims of people we've written about in the past.
Case in point, back in 2009 we wrote about a title company called Red Door Title aka Red Door Title Insurance Agency that was owned by a woman named Ana J. Amador. In particular what we wrote about was a transaction they conducted involving a home located in Coconut Grove, specifically the home located at 3146 Hibiscus Street. It didn't take much to figure out just what had gone on in this transaction, a simple examination of the warranty deeds tells the story, take a look...
Based on the documentary stamps (60 cents/100 dollars) the sales price of this home on July 18, 2008 was $218,000. Now lets look at the next warranty deed that was issued by the same title company, Red Door Title, the VERY SAME DAY:
Based on the documentary stamps on this sale we can conclude that the home sold for $470,000 THE VERY SAME DAY! Once again we see a $252,000 profit in a MATTER OF HOURS! This is a classic example of the type of fraud that was going on back during the peak of the housing bubble here in South Florida. The way the scam would work is as follows:
- Find a home that's in a depressed marginal neighborhood that is close to a better neighborhood that you can draw higher appraisal comps from, IE West Coconut Grove.
- Find a straw buyer with good enough credit to get a loan.
- Find an attorney or title agent that's a willing participant in this organized scheme to defraud the lender.
- The title agent conducts the closing from the interim buyer to the straw buyer before the actual seller gets paid for the property.
- The title agent then funds the purchase of the home from the original seller to the interim buyer.
So here we are several years later and what's happened? In this instance the title agent that we wrote about, Red Door Title, has moved on to somewhat less sophisticated frauds, we'll discuss tomorrow...