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Police investigating real estate fraud

By 23 July 2014 2

ACT Policing is investigating a real estate fraud in which a Canberra property has been sold without the consent of the home owner, who resides overseas.

After consultation with the Royal South African Police (RSA), ACT Policing has taken carriage of the investigation which will determine how the home owner, who resides in South Africa, was defrauded of the Macgregor home. Police will investigate a series of exchanges which led to the sale of the property without the owner’s knowledge or consent, and the disbursement of the funds generated by the deception.

ACT Policing has joined with the ACT Office of Regulatory Services and ACT Attorney General Simon Corbell in warning home owners to be vigilant of scammers, particularly if an owner is residing or travelling overseas.

The absence of the home owner and an inability to personally review documentation which may be fraudulent provides leverage for the scammers to operate. Police would urge home owners residing overseas or travelling overseas for a lengthy period to establish robust protocols which protect and confirm their bona fides.

ACT Policing would urge anyone who suspects they may be a victim of this type of fraud to report it to Police Operations on 131-444. Any questions relating to regulations surrounding the sale of property in the ACT should be directed to the Office of Regulatory Services on 6207 3000 (select 8).

(ACT Policing Media Release)

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2 Responses to Police investigating real estate fraud
#1
A_Cog3:23 pm, 23 Jul 14

Maybe I’m stupid, but how can the legal owner of a home be defrauded of their home if they never consented to the sale of it?

Surely it remains their possession and the buyer is the one who loses everything?

If my car is stolen and someone sells it, I can still have my car recovered and the then-current owner loses the car they legally bought from the thief.

Does anyone know details of why and how this differs for home owners?

#2
SheepGroper4:56 pm, 23 Jul 14

A_Cog said :

If my car is stolen and someone sells it, I can still have my car recovered and the then-current owner loses the car they legally bought from the thief.

Does anyone know details of why and how this differs for home owners?

I was wondering that myself when an earlier version of this scam was reported on ACA ( can’t find it on their site ) where a West Australian home was sold out from under the owner’s nose. The owner lived in South Africa and their mail was intercepted there. The scammers contacted the real estate agent telling them to use another email address and from that point the owners lost control as the real estate agency sold the house as the scammers instructed. The title deed may have been reissued.

Instead of the house reverting back to the owner when the scam was discovered the buyer got to keep it because apparently the law’s different for houses. The ACA story was advertised in their usual low key way with statements like “anybody’s house can be sold from under them without their knowledge!!!!!!1111!!!!!” “Nobody’s home is safe!!!!1111!!!!!1!”

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