Conviction for "Decorator Allowances" and other disguised kickbacks

10/29/2012 9:58 AM | Anonymous
Two Orlando area attorneys have pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bank and wire fraud in connection with a scheme that artificially inflated the sales prices of condominium units through the use of nominee purchasers.

These "straw buyers" obtained  loans on condominium units they had no intention of inhabiting and were usually paid a sum of money for the use of their identities and credit scores.  In any inflated value scheme, the problem is always how to get the "spread" out of your trust account. 

They accomplished this with a combination of "kick-backs" to Realtors and the straw buyers after the condominium units were sold, and disguising payments as decorator's allowances" or other miscellaneous charges on the closing statements. 

They also paid a 25% monthly fee to a co-conspirator involved with the development of the three condominium conversion projects for all of the closings done for units in the three developments. These payments were not disclosed on closing statements.

Here's another indictment in which the inflated value "spread"  was falsely described  as "management fees" or "marketing fees."   

The Moral of the Story:  Be very suspicious of processing any payment which has the effect of reducing or offsetting a portion of the purchase price to the buyer, or to any payment which you are told shouldn't be shown on the closing statement. 

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