Entries Tagged 'Real Estate' ↓

Rick Koerber Indictment

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I really wanted to post something as soon as I heard that Rick Koerber was indicted on mail fraud, wire fraud, and tax evasion, but I decided to wait and see if anybody would answer the burning question I had.  Granted, I didn’t read every article and comment out there but I didn’t see the answer I had.

Before I bring up my question let’s look at the charges.

Mail Fraud - It is a Federal crime or offense for anyone to use the United States mails in carrying out a scheme to defraud. In order to be proven guilty of mail fraud, it must be shown that the person knowingly and willfully devised a scheme to defraud, or for obtaining money or property by means of false pretenses, representations or promises and that such acts were carried out by means of use of the U.S. Postal Service. Obtaining a payment in response to a fraudulent offer or making a fraudulent offer through the mail is sufficient to claim an offense of mail fraud.

Wire Fraud - fraud committed using a means of electronic communication (as a telephone or computer)

Tax Evasion - the intentional and fraudulent underpayment or non-payment of taxes.

The two fraud counts must mean that he sent a letter and either an email or made a phone call to someone in an effort to defraud them.  They say he owes over $250,000 in taxes so that would cover the tax evasion.

If he raised $100 million and never made a profit, wouldn’t he have contacted more than just one investor through the mail, Internet, or telephone?  I was reading some other ponzi scheme charges against others and they seem to have multiple mail fraud and/or wire fraud counts so why does Rick only have one of each?

I don’t know the law very well, but I thought they could always charge you one count for each act.  When I first heard that he had one count of mail fraud and one count of wire fraud, but  allegedly raised $100 million in a ponzi scheme I couldn’t help laughing.  Was that the best they could come up with?  Twelve counts or 47 counts would sound more reasonable for the amount of money he raised.

Here is an article where the perpetrator was charged with three counts of wire fraud for raising $11 million.

It could be that since it was one business taking the funds that it is only one count, but I don’t know.

If somebody knows why there was only one count of each I would really appreciate a comment.

Busy, Busy, Busy

I have been so busy with this real estate auction that I haven’t set time aside to update this blog.  The auction worked out as well as can be expected with less than a week of marketing.  We ended up with 24 homes and had 9 offers in by the end of the night.  Our next auction will be Feb 4th and a larger venue.  This time I started marketing on Craigslist and ksl.com right away.  We are also looking into facebook.  The days of the newspaper are coming to an end.  

In preparation for the auction, I checked with our county realtor board to see what I needed to do to get my real estate license active again.  They checked the computer and told me it would be about $1000 non-refundable for all the dues and fees they have.  I was relieved that I didn’t have to take all the pre-license classes again.  As time drew nearer to the auction date, I checked again and they told me it would be around $800.  I thought that was getting better.  My broker asked me to check with the state and see how much it would be just to get my license active with the state and then worry about board later.  

Since I was told I would only have to pay about $800 to get my license active again, I thought the state fee would be around $50.  I checked on line and my license was expired.  I couldn’t find a place to renew it.  I called them and they told me that I would have to take all the classes again, 90 hours worth.  I was a little confused since the local board office told me on two separate occasions that all I had to do was pay some money and take two classes within 60 days.  I thought I had two years before it expired.  I put my license as inactive in July 2007.

I was reminded that I had to take 12 hours of continuing education every 2 years if my license was inactive and I had six months after it expired to reactivate it.  It expired 11 months ago, so I was too late.  I am glad I didn’t pay the dues to the county before checking with the state.  I would have been out $800.  Remember dues are non-refundable and you have to pay for a year.  No more 6 months at a time.

It got me wondering if it is policy of the board not to check the license status of the applicant in hopes of collecting more dues.  I sure hope not.  The fees for a realtor if you sign up in January are:

  • Member fee – $200
  • County Association Dues – $320/yr
  • State Association Dues – $210/yr (Increased from $135)
  • National Association Dues – $115/yr (increased from $110)
  • MLS access – $25/mo
  • ReaderKey lease – $96/yr (Not required, but very difficult to show homes without it)
Notice how two of the dues increased this year. Times are tough for them too. In 2006 there were 1.06 Realtors, multiply that by the $110 it was then and they bring in over $100,000,000 annually.  A lot of that is spent on marketing the Realtor brand and paying politicians.  The housing market is suffering and so many Realtors are going inactive. Instead of trying to help them by lowering fees or keeping them the same, they raise fees.  The average real estate agent only sells about 6 homes a year.  Many people can’t pay $1000 at once especially since it can take a few months to get going in real estate.
Okay, I am done complaining about that.  I gave in and am currently going through the online pre-licensing program and am about 1/3 of the way through it.