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If I have been defrauded by my real estate agent in California, what can be done to recover the monies I have lost? Sadly, this is a question that I have heard more than once. A prospective purchaser of property has entrusted their finances with their real estate agent, who then takes the money and runs.

Fortunately, there are protections should this happen to you. First, in addition to being able to sue the real estate agent, the real estate broker is also responsible for the acts of their real estate agent, if the real estate agent’s activity falls within the scope of activity requiring a real estate license. What this means is that the real estate broker is liable for the acts of the real estate agent, if the activity was as a real estate agent.

Second, even if you have obtained a judgment against the real estate broker and/or real estate agent, but are unable to collect on that judgment, there is further recourse with the California Department of Real Estate, who maintains a “Recovery Account” to help get restitution for consumers who have been defrauded by a real estate agent or real estate broker, but despite efforts to collect, have been unable to collect from the real estate broker or real estate agent. For a useful article on how the Recovery Account works, see  http://www.businessandrealtylaw.com/2013/01/30/what-is-the-california-department-of-real-estate-recovery-account-and-how-does-it-work/.

If you believe that you have been defrauded by a real estate broker, mortgage broker, or a real estate agent in the course of a transaction they handled for you, or you are a real estate broker or agent accused of fraud, please feel free to contact me at (510) 465-0025 or (925) 708-3306 to arrange for a consultation.

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