Final Four, Fraud Reminder, Forum & More

Dear Members,

MARCH MADNESS definitely lived up to its name this year.  Crazy games going down to the last second, which made losses all the more heartbreaking for players and fans!  It's not over yet…………..  (and, yes, the Women's playoffs are just as impressive so you have four great nights of basketball ahead of you this week.)

Vacant land fraud reminder.  It's a good time to remind you of this rampant fraud to which many of you are falling victim.  We just got a claim on a transaction that took place in January 2023 so please make a note of the following:

  • If you are referred a closing with any (doesn't have to be all) of these factors, BE WARY….AND DILIGENT:
    • Vacant land
    • Owner, according to tax rolls/property appraiser, has a non-USA address.
    • Alleged seller wants to communicate only by email or text.
    • Alleged seller needs a quick closing.
    • Realtor (if there is one) is with Seller communicating only by text or email.  Does not know the seller personally.
    • Alleged seller needs for you to send the seller documents to them and they will get them signed, witnessed, notarized and returned to you.
    • Their location for execution of documents is not consistent with the address on the property appraiser/tax collector records.  Same with the bank account where they want you to wire funds.
    • When documents are returned to you, CAREFULLY REVIEW THE NOTARY ACKNOWLEDGEMENT.  If the Seller appears to have gone to the US Embassy or Consulate, research the notary through Googling the notary's name.  Confirm the notary currently is employed by the government; contact them by email to confirm if you can.
    • Here is a list of notaries used in recent fraud claims that are BOGUS and you should not accept.

Broward County ordinance re: seawalls. For those of you lucky enough to practice in the SE Florida region, there is a new City of Ft. Lauderdale ordinance about seawall construction and repair, with substantial consequences for waterfront owners, including a requirement that all contracts pertaining to covered real property contain a special disclosure.  This is not a title issue but certainly one that you should know about!  Here a link to the ordinance

New (6th) DCA.  Reminder:  there is a new DCA in Florida and questions have recently been posed about how case law precedent works between the various DCAs in this situation.  If this is your thing, read this article in The Florida Bar Journal for some perspective.

Real Estate Forum.  The last two topics mentioned above both came from postings on our Real Estate Forum.  If you are not a member, please consider joining!  It's just one of the many benefits of Fund Membership and does not cost you a thing.  I recently went through a bunch of postings (I got behind……) and was fascinated by the depth and breadth of the issues posted but, just as important, the wealth of knowledge Fund Members are willing to share.  Here is a link to the page where you can join.

That's all of this week.  Let me know how we can help you.


Melissa Jay Murphy
Executive Vice President, Chief Legal Officer,
and General Counsel