Appraisers providing bad appraisals due either to negligence or outright fraud are finally being recognized as one of the major contributors to the huge foreclosure fraud crisis in Florida and the rest of the country. By providing artificially high appraisals, the real estate appraiser played an instrumental role in the Real Estate Bubble that has caused so much hardship and heartache for so many years now.
Appraisal Fraud and Negligence Lawsuits Are Being Filed Now
Already, we’ve posted about a huge FDIC lawsuit seeking over $280,000,000 in damages due to appraisal fraud against Lender Processing Services, Inc. of Jacksonville, Florida and CoreLogic of California and an individual lawsuit filed against former Florida appraiser (he’s still licensed in North Carolina) Jay Whitham for appraisal wrongdoing. These are far from the only lawsuits that are going to be filed against appraisers and appraisal companies who failed to provide accurate appraisals in real estate sales over the past few years. There will be many more.
National Consumer Advocacy Group Asks Whistleblowers to Come Forward with Information on Appraisals Done Wrong
This week, a nationally known consumer advocacy group encouraged anyone with personal knowledge of appraisal fraud or appraisal negligence to step forward and blow the whistle on the wrongdoing. Why the need for encouragement? Whistleblowers are understandably fearful about coming forward and telling their stories to the authorities because of the very real possibility of backlash for their revelations.
The Corporate Whistleblower Center has issued a press release. It operates under the umbrella of its more widely known parent group, America’s Watchdog. America’s Watchdog has a proven track record: in 2002, for example, Americas Watchdog’s National Mortgage Complaint Center was nationally recognized by the American Trial Lawyers Association for its work on combating predatory mortgage lending. America’s Watchdog created the Corporate Whistleblower Center specifically to help whistleblowers, since many of these individuals are justifiably afraid of exposing the truth that they have because of the real dangers of reprisal. The National Whistleblower Center is another recoginzed national advocacy group established to support the protection of whistleblowers; presumably it will also provide encouragement to those coming forward regarding appraisal fraud or appraiser neglect.
Do you know about a Florida Appraiser Who Did the Wrong Thing, either Appraisal Fraud or Appraisal Negligence? What Can You Do?
If you have information regarding a bad or faulty appraisal done at any time in the past few years, then please consider stepping forward. There are federal and state laws that protect those who blow the whistle on wrongdoing, and as a whistleblower, you play an important role in the American system of justice.
For example, the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (2010) provides specific protection for those blowing the whistle on securities (stock) fraud. There are other laws that can provide protection as well, on both the state and federal level.
Contact an attorney to discuss your options if you wish to become a whistleblower of appraisal fraud or appraisal negligence. This will establish the shield of attorney-client privilege (helping keep your identity secret at least for a time) and allow the lawyer to be your spokesperson as you take your first steps toward revealing wrongdoing and contributing to Justice for All.
Whistleblowers can be the unsung heroes or heroines that save the lives of those who otherwise will be permanently harmed. We should all encourage them in their courageous efforts.