Real Estate Fraud
How to Report Suspected Real Estate Fraud
The San Diego County District Attorney’s Office (SDCDA) Real Estate Fraud
Unit will review for investigation real estate fraud related cases occurring
in San Diego County. The types of cases which will be considered for investigation
by the SDDA Real Estate Fraud Unit are frauds that result from various fraudulent
real estate transactions and/or schemes such as: submission of forged loan
applications; fraudulent transfers of title of real property; recordation of
fraudulent real estate documents; home equity sale contract fraud; and mortgage
foreclosure consultant fraud.
When we receive a consumer complaint, we review all the information and the supporting documentation that is included. Note that we are ethically able to file charges only where we can prove all elements of a criminal offense, usually including specific intent to commit theft, beyond a reasonable doubt to twelve unanimous jurors in a court of law. This is appropriately an incredibly high burden for the prosecution and many cases do not meet this burden, which prevents us from proceeding.
If the complaint does not meet our criteria to open a case, we will do our best to refer you to an agency that will appropriately handle the type of matter involved. Many real estate consumer disputes are not appropriate for government action, but are altogether proper for private legal action. It is generally a good idea to consult with private counsel to explore private legal remedies that might be available.
This office is not legally permitted to represent individuals in civil matters, help cancel any debt due on a contract that was signed, resolve or mediate individual contractual complaints, or obtain any other personal relief. If you need a civil lawyer to assist you in determining what, if any, civil remedies you may have, you may visit the following State Bar of California website, which lists certified lawyer-referral services at http://www.calbar.ca.gov/Public/Need-Legal-Help/Lawyer-Referral-Service, or the San Diego County Bar Association’s website, which also contains lawyer referral information at https://www.sdcba.org/lris/.
If you believe you have been a victim of real estate fraud, or you have suffered a loss involving your home or purchase of a home due to fraud, you must complete a complaint form for us to review your case. Call 619-531-3552 to request a complaint form.
How You Can Help Us Help You:
A. Write or type a summary of your complaint and attach the summary to the complaint form. We cannot review your complaint without a complete concise statement of the facts. At a minimum, please include the following information in your statement:
- Tell us what happened in chronological detail and be specific. You should tag as exhibits any supporting documents and refer to those exhibits in your narrative (i.e., “We found a deed that I did not sign at the County Recorder. See Exhibit A.”)
- Tell us who you think the person(s) or company that is responsible for the loss, conversion(s) or fraudulent act – and why you conclude that.
- Tell us where (address, city and state) the incident, conversions or act(s) took place. Please include property address(es) involved in the fraudulent transaction(s).
- Tell us when and how you first became aware that you may have been defrauded. If individual(s) or a company is named in your complaint, please list exact dates of contact. If someone else made you aware of the potential crime, please include the person’s name(s), address(es) and telephone number(s).
- Tell how you know the representations were false or how you know money was misused.
- Tell us what your actual financial loss is, if known, and how you arrived at that figure. Do not include lost interest, unrealized profits or missed opportunities.
B. Documentary evidence is especially important; therefore, please include photocopies of all documents and materials (contracts, agreements, certificates, notes, deeds, correspondences, legible copies of involved checks, front and back, escrow and/or loan documents, etc.) you wish us to review. Please retain the originals for your records.