Thursday, March 31, 2016

Indiana Passes Law Targeting Surplus Snatchers Who Dupe Unwitting Real Estate Tax-Delinquent Homeowners Into Signing Over Rights To Excess Funds Generated By Tax Foreclosure Sales

In Indianapolis, Indiana, The Herald Bulletin:
  • A newly enacted law aimed at preventing tax sale fraud was praised [] by Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller.

    County auditors and other local officials who work in the tax sale process of homes where delinquent property taxes are owed recently alerted the Attorney General’s Homeowner Protection Unit to a fraud scheme.

    In the scheme, the fraudsters approach distressed property owners who are delinquent on their property taxes, and convinced them to sign quitclaim deeds in exchange for minimal amounts in order to seemingly make their delinquent tax problem go away, Zoeller said.

    Typically the homeowners don’t know they are legally entitled to receive the surplus between the tax owed and the price the house sold for at auction. Some victims were entitled to surplus amounts upwards of tens of thousands of dollars that they lost.

    Last month, Zoeller’s office filed a $9 million lawsuit against various entities for allegedly perpetrating this scheme against at least 48 vulnerable Hoosiers, swindling them out of amounts ranging from $2,000 up to $900,000.

    Senate Enrolled Act 355 addressed gaps in state law to prevent homeowners from being cheated out of surplus tax sale amounts to which they are entitled, he said.

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