Q: My real estate agent owned my property through fraud, including identity theft and forgery of documents.

In 2018, I bought a house in Michigan through a real estate agent living in Miami. During the purchase process, my real estate agent recorded my address as Miami in all documents, even though I do not live in Miami. I am not an American citizen and do not reside in the United States.

Through my research, I found out that the same real estate agent bought my house from me for free in 2021 and sold it to someone else. I did not sign any documents related to these transactions. I also found out that if the seller and buyer are Miami residents, the seller may not have to pay taxes on the sale transaction. I believe that my real estate agent obtained my property illegally, including identity theft and forgery of documents. I also believe that my real estate agent intentionally listed my address in Miami to evade taxes.

I have all e-mail correspondence, banking transaction information, and title deed information.

What can I do, If I want to sue, how much will it cost me approximately.

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: Based on the information you provided, it appears that your real estate agent may have committed serious crimes, including fraud, identity theft, and forgery. If your allegations are true, you have the right to take legal action against the agent and potentially recover your property or receive compensation for your losses.

Here are some steps you can take:

1. Gather evidence: Compile all relevant documents, including emails, banking transactions, and title deeds, to support your case.

2. Report the crime: File a report with the local police department in Michigan and Miami, as well as with the FBI, as the case involves potential interstate fraud.

3. Contact a real estate attorney: Consult with a real estate attorney who has experience in handling fraud cases. They can help you assess your case, advise you on your legal options, and represent you in court if necessary.

4. File a lawsuit: Your attorney may recommend filing a civil lawsuit against the real estate agent to recover your property or seek damages.

5. Report to professional organizations: File a complaint with the real estate agent's professional organization, such as the National Association of Realtors, and the state's real estate licensing board.

The cost of pursuing legal action can vary significantly depending on factors such as the complexity of the case, the attorney's fees, and the duration of the legal process. Some attorneys may work on a contingency basis, meaning they will only collect fees if you win the case. Others may charge hourly rates or require a retainer fee.

On average, real estate attorneys may charge hourly rates ranging from $300 to $600 per hour (or more), depending on their experience and location. A retainer fee could range from a few thousand to tens of thousands of dollars. However, these are rough estimates, and actual costs may differ.

It is essential to consult with multiple attorneys to find one who has experience with similar cases and to understand their fee structure before making a decision. Some attorneys may offer a free initial consultation to assess your case and provide an estimate of the potential costs involved.

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