Boston condo buyers, is your money safe in an escrow account?
Escrow fraud is quite unusual, it can occur, but there are steps you can take to protect yourself.
First, some explanation: When you put an Offer on a Boston condo for sale the buyers put their deposit in an escrow account usually with the listing Boston real estate broker or designated lawyer, which holds it until the time of closing to safeguard it.
Boston Real Estate Escrow and Fraud
Occasionally, though, high profile cases of fraud do happen. Recently, a real estate attorney disappeared, and his clients are worried about the whereabouts of millions of dollars placed in escrow accounts he managed, according to The Real Deal.
Still, such incidents are highly unusual, because stealing escrow deposits comes with heavy consequences for the holder of the funds
“I think most people are too honest or too scared to mess with it. It’s one of the things that gets you disbarred, and it’s criminal,” says Sam Himmelstein, a lawyer who represents residential and commercial tenants and tenant associations (and FYI, a Brick sponsor). “But you are relying on the lawyer to do the right thing,” he says.
Despite the rarity of escrow fraud, some buyers do feel nervous about the security of their deposit. They can protect themselves by drawing up an escrow agreement or requesting that their lawyer hold the funds
Should the worse happen, Boston condo buyers who end up in this unfortunate situation would work with a lawyer to sue the offending attorney and recover their losses; there is also a state fund that can help them get back their stolen deposits.
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