By Lisa A. Tyler
National Escrow Administrator
Title fraud occurs when identity theft and mortgage fraud are combined into one. Essentially, it is when a fraudster steals ownership to someone's house and land without them knowing. Next, the fraudster cashes out the equity of the property by obtaining a new loan he never intends on paying back and pocketing the proceeds. Sometimes he sells the property to an unsuspecting third party. Of course, there are different variations of this type of fraud. Read the details of how a closer in Florida stopped short of facilitating a title fraud scheme in "TITLE fraud."
"'I don't do refunds, it's not my problem'" is an unbelievable story of a female con artist's fraud spree that finally ended after she attempted to sell a piece of real estate out from under the true owner. The property was not occupied, and the con artist posed as the owner's granddaughter and entered into an agreement to sell the property. A closing attorney and title issuing agent for Fidelity identified the crime and halted the transaction. Read the article for more details.
Sales of U.S. real property may be subject to capital gains taxes. Specifically, the gain or profit from the sale is what is taxed unless an exemption applies. On a federal level, the IRS will expect payment when a U.S. citizen files their tax return. Depending on which state the seller lives in and which state the property being sold is located, the seller may have to pre–pay an estimated amount of the taxes at closing referred to as real estate withholding. Read about the articles you can expect to see in each edition of Fraud Insights throughout the year entitled "STATES real estate withholding."