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A resident of Chita was convicted of fraud with someone else's apartment

A resident of Chita was convicted of fraud with someone else's apartment

In Transbaikalia, a court found a resident of Chita guilty of fraud on an especially large scale. For fraud with someone else’s apartment, the woman was sentenced to five and a half years in prison in a penal colony.

In 2014, a woman learned about the desire of a family from Chita to privatize and sell her apartment, in order to later buy two smaller areas. Posing as a realtor, she received a power of attorney from the owner to sell the apartment and receive money. After the sale of the apartment, the fraudster appropriated to herself minus the expenses incurred to complete the transaction, more than 1,1 million rubles, although she sold the apartment for 1,4 million rubles.

According to the information of the regional prosecutor’s office, the accused gave the apartment owners 50 thousand rubles as partial compensation for the damage, and partially admitted guilt. However, this did not help to avoid punishment.

Olga Lukas, an expert at the Zhilfin.rf information portal (within the framework of the Russian Ministry of Finance's project on financial literacy), explains that buying or selling a home by power of attorney is always a certain risk, so the seller and buyer, as parties to the transaction, must exercise due diligence.

“Due diligence is a set of specific actions aimed at obtaining complete and reliable information about the other side of a transaction. In this case, it was necessary to verify the authenticity of the power of attorney in open sources. You can check the power of attorney on the site Federal Chamber of Notaries... The check can be done free of charge and at any time of the day. If the power of attorney is verified, the check must be repeated directly on the day of the transaction, since the information may change (the power of attorney can be canceled), ”says the expert.

According to Olga Lucas, in any case, when making transactions, you should also be guided by the principle of "trust but verify." Before completing the transaction, it will not be superfluous to collect as much information as possible about the other side of the transaction. The following sources can help in gathering information: (information on collateral); (information on the availability of enforcement proceedings); (contains all published court documents).

“In addition, a simple search on the Internet can give unexpected results. This can be reviews about the realtor, about the owner, about the property itself (for example, the house is not officially listed for demolition, but in the demolition project with the purchase of the municipality, not the investor), ”the expert notes.

Making a deal with real estate, Olga Lucas advises to pay attention to several "worrying moments": the price is much lower than the market; the presence of a power of attorney (including the refusal to meet with the principal, the lack of physical ability to meet with him, call via video link); strange methods of payment (for example, issuing a letter of credit for payment to a third party); problems with obtaining a certificate of lack of registration in narcological, psychiatric institutions; psychological pressure (in any expression).

“The presence of the above circumstances does not at all guarantee that the other side of the transaction is a fraud, but this is a reason to think and assess the possible risks,” emphasizes Olga Lukas. 
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