Here’s a real estate fraud story from San Diego.

The best quotes.

“Some of these people made well over a million dollars in a couple months time.”

It turned out, he said, the [real estate agent] had been involved in the purchase of 17 properties over a period of just a few months. All of the sales were suspicious, because the sales prices were significantly higher than the list prices, Lackner said. Ten of the properties later foreclosed, he said.

“If you look at some of these (mortgage fraud) cases, on one day alone, someone did the equivalent of robbing 10 or 20 banks in one day,” Lackner said.

Under an inflate-and-crash scheme, for example, an appraiser fraudulently declares the value of $500,000 property to be $600,000. Based on that appraisal, a lender agrees to a $600,000 loan.

The seller agrees to the higher sale price and agrees to give $100,000 cash back to the buyer at close of escrow. Then, when the lender pays the money to the seller, he or she keeps the $500,000 and gives the $100,000 difference back to the buyer and the money is split between the buyer and those who cooked up the deal, Lackner said.

Typically, Lackner said, a buyer will purchase between three and six properties at once. So, the damage to his credit is the same with four foreclosures as it is with one, he said.

California had more than one-third of the nation’s suspicious loan activity at federally insured lenders.