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Mortgage originators rip off
Moneyweb - South Africa
Every business has its bad apples - and the multi-billion rand mortgage origination industry is no exception, says Rudi Botha, CEO of PA BetterBond. According to Botha, there are literally hundreds of companies operating in this sector and while most have the interests of their clients at heart, some see clients as little more than a means to making themselves a fast buck.

Mortgage originators specialise in securing and managing the entire home loan process on behalf of their clients.

Real estate agents warned over 'secret' commissions
Stuff - New Zealand
Real estate agents have been warned about taking what the Real Estate Institute calls "secret commissions" from banks, lawyers and conveyancers. Agents who suggest a buyer talk to a particular bank, for example, are often rewarded when the buyer takes out a loan. The reward can be in cash or in other forms such, as Fly Buys points.

But house buyers are not always told about the commissions, sparking the institute's warning to its 16,000 members to declare the deals. Although the institute has stopped short of banning the practice, executive director Boud Hammelburg has demanded swift action and its compliance and operations manager, Christine Le Cren, has been asked to deliver a paper on the issue.

Solicitor jailed for £825,000 Stamp Duty scam
The Scotsman - Scotland
A solicitor who stole £825,000 by setting up a bogus account in the name of "I Revue" to cheat the taxman was today jailed for three years and nine months. Ian Macfarlane, 45, used an "almost farcical and childlike" scam to steal the money while working as a conveyancing solicitor over an eight-year period, Bournemouth Crown Court was told.

Ian Fenny, prosecuting, told the court that Macfarlane started work for Traill & Co in Blandford, Dorset in 1996 and used a forged enduring power of attorney to open an account at the Portman Building Society in the name of Ian Godfrey Revue. He opened the account with a cheque for £635.
The Scotsman

7 nasty property traps
Moneyweb - South Africa
Everyone thinks there's easy money to be made in the property market. But if you don't structure your affairs carefully, you could be hit with unexpected bills.

Here are some danger zones:

1. Penalties for settling your bond. When you sell, you have to cancel the mortgage bond. If you don't give the bank three months notice that you're going to do this, you could be hit with the equivalent of at least two months' worth of bond repayments, says Cape Town conveyancer Bobby Bertrand of Bowman Gilfillan.

Clampdown on shady deals
Finance24.com - South Africa
Pretoria - Some 24 000 suspicious financial transactions have been reported to the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) over the past two years, the body's director, Murray Michell, said on Wednesday.

Of those, about 1% had been referred to law enforcement agencies after initial investigation, he told reporters in Pretoria. Eighty-five percent of reports had come from banks, with the rest from across the financial services sector - including accountants, lawyers, investment companies and estate agents.

High property prices: dirty money blamed
Business Day - South Africa
As SA took over the presidency of the international anti-money laundering Financial Action Task Force, its new president, Professor Kader Asmal, said he "suspected" that money laundering has been one of the reasons for the sharp increase in the price of property in SA.

Asmal said he had suspicions but no "empirical evidence" that the disposal of illegally earned cash could be a factor behind the steep rise in property prices in certain countries, including SA. Buying property could be one way to dispose of the cash, he said.
Business Day

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