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Tampa Criminal Lawyer > Blog > White Collar Crime > Is Internet Real Estate Crime Conspiracy The New Organized Retail Theft?

Is Internet Real Estate Crime Conspiracy The New Organized Retail Theft?


In the old days, the courts recognized nonviolent petty crimes as acts of financial desperation and not of malevolence.  Even in the nineteenth century, when Les Miserables was written, everyone understood that no one steals a loaf of bread in order to get rich; they do it because they are hungry and cannot afford to buy food.  Therefore, a first offense shoplifting conviction is unlikely to get you jail time if the evidence suggests that you stole the item for your own use.  Things are different if there is evidence that you intended to resell the items, especially if the intended buyer had instructed you to steal them; the phrase “organized retail theft” has been all over the news recently.  Telling fibs on a housing application is another thing that many of us do because we fear that we would have nowhere to live if leasing offices knew how broke we actually are, but these days, real estate news websites are sounding the alarm about conspiracies to defraud landlords by lying on rental applications or by fraudulently listing properties for sale.  If your landlord is accusing you of lying on your rental application, and prosecutors are trying to blow things out of proportion, contact a Tampa white collar crime lawyer.

What Is Apartment Rental Fraud, and How Serious Is It?

Apartment rental fraud is when prospective tenants make false statements on their rental applications or submit fraudulent documents to leasing offices.  The following actions can count as apartment rental fraud:

  • Using someone else’s name, identifying details, and financial information to apply for housing for yourself or for someone other than the person named on the application
  • Submitting falsified tax returns, pay stubs, or other documents to make your income appear higher or lower than it is
  • Lying about the number of people who will live in the rental unit

Depending on the details of the misrepresentation, the charges can be more serious than simple forgery.  For example, you can be charged with identity theft if you use someone else’s information on your application.  You can be charged with welfare fraud if you falsify your income documents in order to get subsidized housing.

Real Estate Listing Scams

Another Internet real estate crime that is getting a lot of attention these days is real estate listing scams.  These occur when someone other than the owner of a real estate property or a real estate agent authorized to list the property posts advertisements for it online.  The goal of this is to draw the legal owner into litigation to prove that he or she really owns the property or, failing that, to get the owner to pay you to take the listing down.

Contact Tampa Criminal Defense Attorney Bryant Scriven

A criminal defense lawyer can help you avoid damage to your career if you are facing criminal charges for Internet real estate crimes.  Contact Scriven Law in Tampa, Florida to schedule a consultation.




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