Misrepresentations Regarding Real Estate and Insurance Coverage
When a piece of real estate is sold, it is important for the buyer to obtain as much information as possible about the property. Unfortunately, even when all the proper disclosures are made at the time of sale, it is not uncommon for disgruntled buyers to unfairly accuse the real estate agent, lender, or broker of lying about or misrepresenting an aspect of the transaction. These accusations can lead to both civil and criminal action, so it is important for those facing allegations of real estate fraud, to speak with an experienced white collar crime attorney who can help them begin formulating a defense.
Misrepresenting the Property
A person can be charged with fraud in relation to the sale of real estate if he or she provides a materially false or inaccurate description of the property in question to the buyer. In most cases, this takes the form of failing to disclose certain details about the property, such as the location of boundaries, the existence of easements, the structural integrity of the foundation, infestation by pests, and similar defects. Although all of these types of misrepresentations can and do occur, some of the most common allegations actually involve accusations that a seller failed to disclose a lack of insurance.
Insurance with the Purchase of Real Estate
Florida is notorious for its summer storms and hurricanes, which can cause significant damage to buildings in affected areas. For this reason, many cities in the state require homeowners to purchase and maintain hurricane or flood insurance policies. When a homeowner purchases one of these policies and then sells the property, the new owner should be notified of the extent and cost of the coverage. Although it is possible for policies that don’t comply with new safety standards to be grandfathered in, these policies cannot be applied to future purchases, as a result of which, buyers are required to purchase new policies.
These types of transactions can lead to claims of misrepresentation if the seller fails to explain that coverage will end with the sale of the home, or actively hides the information from potential buyers. Those who are accused of misrepresenting a property, whether through negligence and a failure to use reasonable care, or as a result of a purposeful attempt to hide a material fact, could face both civil and criminal penalties. For instance, defendants who face allegations of misrepresenting a material fact related to the sale of real estate could be charged with a felony, be required to pay hefty fines, and may even face jail time. Meanwhile, the same individual could also be tried in civil court, and if found liable, could be required to pay thousands of dollars in damages and fines.
Seeking an Experienced White Collar Crime Attorney
To speak with a dedicated white collar crime attorney about your own pending fraud charges, please call Jeffrey S. Weiner, P.A., Criminal Defense Attorneys in Miami at 305-670-9919. Initial case evaluations are offered free of charge, so please don’t hesitate to call or contact us online at your earliest convenience.