The recent arrest of Long Island’s Rickie Roberts is a reminder to homebuyers that even real estate agents can commit fraud. Roberts has been arrested and charged with second- and third-degree grand larceny, having bilked two would-be homebuyers for more than $150,000 over three years.
During his time as their agent, Roberts showed two individuals, ages 63 and 26, numerous properties in the Long Island area. During this time, these individuals provided Roberts with multiple cashier’s checks for “good faith payments” and various other expenses. Still, the deals never seemed to go anywhere, and none of the given money was ever returned. When it became clear that no repayment was forthcoming, the two individuals went to the police.
Don’t Trust, Know
Manually handing off a cashier’s check to a real estate agent is a recipe for disaster. Of course, the vast majority of agents are honest and will act in the best interests of their clients. However, if an agent is dishonest, handing over a check does not provide much security. Only make payments for which there are strong paper and digital records (paper and digital). Make sure that you understand where the funds will be held in escrow, how much of each payment is recoverable, and the channels by which the funds will be returned to you.
Work With Reputation
It is always best to work with agents who have good reputations and strong connections to brokerages. These professionals will need to uphold their reputations; thus, they will be likely to act with integrity during the process. If an agent cannot demonstrate his or her credentials, it is best not to give them the time of day.
Using Propy’s platform is another way to ensure that this kind of mortgage fraud never happens to you. With Propy, all fund transfers are recorded immutably on the blockchain. You always know where your money is held, and the workflows are transparent. Propy offers numerous other security benefits, as well as time and financial savings for homebuyers.