Appraisers beware, A possible new scam discovered by FREA

Friday, February 21, 2014

Recently it has come to our attention a firm called Savant Claims Management from Plano, Texas is mailing letters to appraisers alleging damages from old (2007 and older) residential appraisals. The claim letter is being sent on behalf of an alleged investor called First Mutual Group, LP which claims to be the successor in interest to one or more failed lenders. The letter is not signed by anyone and gives no contact name whatsoever.

 

First, all of the letters we have seen are for appraisal work done 6 or more years ago and any attempt to sue based on those appraisals is probably well beyond the applicable statute of limitations and would be dismissed by any court we know.

 

Next, the letter states that an independent review appraisal has been done, that the reviewer found numerous USPAP violations, and that Savant’s client suffered significant financial damages due to a grossly inaccurate valuation of the property. The letter never details the alleged losses, does not include the review appraisal allegedly done, does not list or explain the alleged USPAP violations, and includes no paperwork establishing that First Mutual Group, LP actually owns any interest in the loan or collateral. The letter goes on to state that you should immediately notify your insurance provider about this demand.

 

In short, this appears to be either a completely fraudulent scam or a very feeble attempt by some hedge fund that acquired pieces of failed lenders and their loan portfolios years ago and is trying to squeeze a few more dollars out of someone (you or your insurer) to increase the IRR on their investment.

 

If you receive such a letter, DO NOT REPLY. By replying, you are just indicating to the people at Savant that you are concerned and this will cause them to push harder to collect something from you or to force you to submit a claim to your carrier. Think of this like clicking on the link in an email from the Minister of Money from Nigeria telling you that you can get millions by sending him your bank account number. Nothing good can come of it, so don’t do it!

 

If you receive such a letter, send us a copy so we can track this scam and report Savant to the appropriate authorities if necessary. You may email the letter to claims@frea.com. Alerts like this are just an example of how FREA works to protect your interests and the interests of all real estate professionals in the never ending battle for truth, justice, and the American way. It’s about time for a membership organization that works for its members and for the integrity of their professions.

 

- The FREA Team

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