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Florida realtor rakes in profits

Shannon Behnken of the Tampa Tribune reports of real estate fraud in the St. Petersberg, FL area. "With three months' experience, the agent [Dawn L. Molen] who had never listed a home closed her first sale Jan. 27 in a working-class neighborhood. Her buyer paid $45,000 more than the asking price...over the next eight months, the agent found buyers for 35 more homes...Collectively, the homes sold for at least $2 million more than originally listed." Upon closer scrutiny of these sales, it was found that Molen was not reporting all this profit, nor were the sellers seeing it. "It was going to a third party with ties to Molen, soemtimes without the knowledge of the lenders or the sellers. Federal laws require full disclosure to lenders detailing where the money goes." The Tribune's investigation has triggered three separate state agency investigations, including one by the Florida Attorney General's office.

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