by Phoenix attorney Christopher A. Combs, partner with Combs Law Group, P.C.

Question: My sister is buying a house in Mesa. The seller is an illegal alien. Ten years ago, the seller bought a social security card that belonged to someone else with the same name, and used this social security card to get a loan when he purchased the home at that time. The seller received a call three days ago from a man who claimed to be the owner of the same social security card. This man apparently was unable to purchase a home recently because he was told that he already owned a home based on his credit report. This man wants $20,000 at closing, and the seller is willing to pay this $20,000. Should my sister enter into some type of agreement with this man so that she will not have any problems in the future?

Answer: Even if the seller committed loan fraud ten years ago, the seller’s ownership in the home should not be affected by the wrongful use of the social security card. The title company should be able to pay the $20,000 to the man from the seller’s proceeds, pay off the fraudulent mortgage loan, and issue a ” clean” title insurance policy to your sister. You should not need any documentation signed by this man, but your sister should contact an attorney for confirmation.