The mission of the District Attorney's Real Estate Fraud Unit is to deter, investigate, and prosecute real estate fraud crimes. The Real Estate Fraud Unit emphasizes crimes involving homes which are in danger of foreclosure, such as loan modification scams. However, the District Attorney’s Office cannot stop a pending foreclosure sale or eviction.
The Unit takes only written complaints. A deputy district attorney will review the complaint and will decide if a criminal investigation will be initiated. A criminal investigator will then be assigned to investigate the alleged criminal act(s). The type of investigation and the length will depend on the specific facts of the case. After the completion of an investigation, the deputy district attorney will review the facts of the case and decide whether to file criminal charges against an individual or company. If charges are filed, the Office of the District Attorney will represent the People of California throughout the completion of the court case, not any one individual.
The types of cases handled by the Unit vary in complexity and in losses to victims. The charges most often filed for real estate fraud cases are the recording of forged or false deeds and other instruments, grand theft, forgery, securities fraud and mortgage foreclosure consultant scams.
The Unit, if appropriate, may refer a complaint to another department or agency that may be of assistance to the complainant. The agencies and/or departments the unit works closely with are the District Attorney’s Consumer Protection Unit, Elder Financial Abuse Unit, the Santa Clara County Public Guardian, and other state and federal agencies. Sometimes, the best solution to a real estate issue is for a complainant to hire a private attorney to represent his or her interests.
When the criminal act(s) result in an actual loss to the victim, the Unit is committed to obtaining restitution orders on behalf of the victim. However, the defendant often does not have the means to pay restitution to the victim. In such cases, the victim can seek compensation from the Bureau of Real Estate’s Consumer Recovery Fund, if the fraud is committed by a real estate licensee, or seek civil remedies.
For More Information Please Contact:
Real Estate Fraud Unit
70 West Hedding Street, West Wing
San Jose, CA 95110
Email: [email protected]
Phone: (408) 792-2879