The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey has accused five of the state’s residents of fraudulently paying mortgages. They used fake money orders, fake cashier’s checks, and other fraudulent documents and then purchased luxury cars. One individual is accused of sending a fake money order for $432,000 to their lender. That document was created to appear as if it had been issued or processed by the IRS. They accepted the payoff and credited it, ultimately mailing the borrower an overpayment refund of nearly $10,000. The homeowner produced a fake receipt after being questioned about the money order.

Allegedly, the group attempted to use the same process to pay off additional mortgages and discharge more than $50,000 in student loan debt. They also are said to have purchased luxury cars and sold them for fast profits.

Fraudulently Paying Mortgages and Mail Fraud 

The New Jersey U.S. attorney’s office is charging the individuals with varying combinations of mail fraud, mail fraud conspiracy, and false statements. Those accused face having to repay all money, hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines, and decades in prison.

Avoid False Documentation and Fake Payments

It is often investors themselves who are most likely to suffer from fraudulent or counterfeit documentation scams. Here are a few recent examples:

  • An escrow officer was convicted of forging signatures on statements and creating false invoices to inflate the fees associated with her services.
  • A foreign investor was recently awarded more than $100 million after two Florida con artists stole his investment capital. They used fake deals and dummy corporations to “buy” vacant buildings that were actually full of paying tenants. They also collected his rent, using false documentation to indicate that the buildings remained vacant after the purchases.
  • Countless real estate agents and other professionals are reporting that their buyers are receiving “last minute instructions” appearing to come from them about where to send earnest money and down payments on properties. These emails direct the buyer to send a wire transfer to a different bank after hacking the real estate professional’s email or other digital correspondence.
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  • Carole VanSickle Ellis

    Carole VanSickle Ellis serves as the news editor and COO of Self-Directed Investor (SDI) Society, a membership organization dedicated to the needs of self-directed investors interested in alternative investment vehicles, including real estate. Learn more at or reach Carole directly by emailing

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