Boy, this sounds bad. Real estate fraud is usually a group sport. Often you see appraisers involved in the fraud as well.

” On numerous occasions, Gainor or Nieto, or both, were present when Rick Norton routinely forged the signatures on the documents used in [Chicago Title] escrows,” stated one lawsuit. ” Rick Norton would simply sign the purchaser’s or owner’s signature at the [Chicago Title] office and hand the documents back to Nieto.”

Among the tactics alleged in the lawsuits were ” loop-de-loop” escrows in which the Chicago Title employees advised Norton to put escrow funds in a bank account for one day to show evidence of a down payment so banks and other lenders would fund the loan, and then they would return the money to Norton the next day. The banks, including Bank of America and Washington Mutual, were unknowingly funding 100 percent of the purchase price on dozens of Crown Point units.

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