A New Jersey Real Estate Fraud Attorney Providing Dedicated, Aggressive Legal Representation
Real estate fraud can result in severe economic losses for businesses, investors, and private individuals. Our firm works with all victims of real estate fraud to undo the damage that has been done and hold fraudsters accountable for their actions. If you are a victim of real estate fraud, a New Jersey real estate fraud attorney can help you recover your losses and other damages and possibly your attorney’s fees and costs.
What is New Jersey Real Estate Fraud?
Real estate fraud encompasses a broad range of unethical or unfair practices related to any type of real estate transaction. Generally speaking, it is an attempt to take advantage of someone through deception, misrepresentation, or other unfair means for the purpose of financial gain. Real estate fraud can involve the purchase or sale of real estate, foreclosures, insurance, financing, or changes in title.
Because of the amount of money involved, fraudulent real estate schemes are often very sophisticated and difficult to unravel. The important thing is to trust your instinct; if you believe you have been defrauded in a real estate transaction, the best thing you can do is talk to a New Jersey real estate fraud lawyer as soon as possible.
Examples of Real Estate Fraud
Some of the most common forms of real estate fraud include the following:
- Title fraud. This involves changing the title to a property to commit some type of fraud. For example, the perpetrator may change the title to secure a loan or avoid creditors.
- Title theft. Very closely related to title fraud, title theft involves fraudulently putting the title to a property into someone else’s name. This may be done to sell a property they don’t own or by way of a bogus refinancing scheme whereby they take ownership of the property.
- Foreclosure fraud. These schemes involve inducing the owner into believing that they have lost ownership of the home due to foreclosure.
- Mortgage fraud. When lenders fail to provide material information, misrepresent the terms of your loan, or fail to disclose hidden fees and other costs, they are engaging in mortgage fraud.
- Syndicator fraud. In large, complex real estate transactions, an individual or an organization may gather a group of investors to fund the deal. Given the complexity of the transaction, the environment is ripe for fraud to take place.
- Value fraud. This involves either overvaluing or undervaluing a piece of property for some financial gain, such as unjustified profits, bogus loans, or avoiding taxes.
To be clear, real estate fraud can affect individual purchasers, investors, lenders, brokers, and anyone else involved in the real estate industry. If you believe you are the victim of real estate fraud, a New Jersey real estate fraud attorney can help you undo the damage.
Compensation Available After Real Estate Fraud
New Jersey has some of the most robust anti-fraud laws in the country. If your case falls under the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act, you may be entitled to triple damages (i.e., three times your economic losses) plus your attorney’s fees and costs. Cases involving mortgage fraud, for example, likely fall under the Consumer Fraud Act. However, it is important to note that there are exceptions to the Act for realtors.
If your case does not fall under the Consumer Fraud Act, you are still entitled to compensatory damages. In other words, you can pursue a claim for whatever economic losses you have suffered. If there was a contract, your contract may entitle you also to recover your attorney’s fees and costs. In cases where you can prove that the fraud was intentional, you may also be able to seek punitive damages. These damages are intended to “punish” the other party and are assessed without regard to your economic losses.
In some cases, you may also be entitled to equitable relief. This can include forcing the other party to perform according to the contract’s original terms, reforming the contract to meet the agreed-upon terms, or rescinding the contract to relieve you of any obligations you may have.
The damages you are entitled to seek will shape how you should proceed. An experienced New Jersey real estate fraud attorney can help you understand your options and then formulate an aggressive legal strategy focused on your best interests.
Our New Jersey Real Estate Fraud Attorney Answers Your Questions
Do I have a claim for fraud if the other party claims that it was due to negligence and was unintentional?
You may have a claim for negligent misrepresentation or equitable fraud. You do not need to prove that the other party necessarily intended to defraud you in those situations. However, the fact that they claim it was unintentional doesn’t mean that it is true. They will need to prove that the fraud was unintentional. A New Jersey real estate fraud attorney can evaluate your case and determine what you can prove versus what you can reasonably expect in terms of their defense.
What kind of omission or misrepresentation constitutes fraud?
In order to prove fraud, you may need to prove the omission or misrepresentation was “material.” A material omission or misrepresentation is one that a reasonable person would consider important and would determine their choices or action. Claiming an omission or misrepresentation was immaterial is a common defense, especially in cases where the other party is claiming that the misrepresentation was unintentional and the result of negligence.
How do I guard against real estate fraud?
Many real estate fraud cases are committed by people who go to great lengths to appear trustworthy. As a result, even experienced purchasers, investors, and other parties are at risk. However, there are some steps you can take to reduce your risk:
- Due diligence: conduct a thorough investigation of the property, review the contract carefully, and evaluate any financing terms. To the extent possible, research the qualifications and reputations of the other parties involved.
- Engage professional help: licensed professionals who are neutral third parties can provide invaluable guidance when entering into any type of real estate transaction. Whether it’s a home inspection, an appraisal, or a settlement company, you are not obligated to rely solely upon any service used by the other party.
- Take your time: resist the temptation to rush through the transaction. Pressure from the other party to close as quickly as possible is often a sign of trouble.
Talk to New Jersey Real Estate Fraud Attorney Daniel P. Silberstein
If you have suffered a loss due to real estate fraud, you have options. Consumer lawyer Daniel P. Silberstein has 25 years of experience in helping people recover from the losses they have suffered due to negligence and malfeasance. To discuss your case and your options, contact us today to schedule an appointment. Our office is conveniently located in Union County, New Jersey, and we serve clients in Newark, Elizabeth, and more.