Rent Skimming is one of the more common types of real estate frauds. What happens in rent skimming is that you collect income without paying your mortgage. Or that you rent a property that you don’t actually have the rights to own and that you collected that rent for yourself. If done a single time you could see some civil penalties. However the real deal breaker is when it is done more than once. If done accidentally, one time may be the grace point. However when someone repeats an action, that means they are obviously taking advantage of it. Multiple acts of rent skimming means that you skimmed 5 or more properties within two years. Multiple acts of rent skimming will put you under criminal penalties instead of civil. Related crimes includes foreclosure fraud. Another real estate fraud that involves “rescuing” a homeowner from losing his/her house. The methods can include predatory lending. Or possibly you could see straw buyer schemes. It may also include illegal property flipping. Another related crime is grand theft. If you rent skimmed over $950 then you may also be charged with grand theft.
Punishments for Rent Skimming
Rent skimming as said before. If done a single time is liable to only civil punishments. This means that it will only include fines but no jail/prison time. This means it will include reimbursement of the victim for whatever suffered. Reimbursement for attorney fees. And possible repayment for court fees. However for Multiple acts of Rent Skimming you can face either a misdemeanor or felony. It will depend on the facts of the case and your criminal history. As a misdemeanor you see a $10,000 fine and up to a year in jail. However as a felony you can see up to 3 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.