A one dollar increase on filing assessor-recorder documents will help The City crack down on real estate fraud cases.
“We are in agreement about no one would object to a very small increase of $1 to the current $2 recordation fee,” Supervisor John Avalos said, during last Wednesday’s Board of Supervisors Budget and Finance Committee hearing.
The legislation that would authorize the fee hike was continued at that hearing for a vote Wednesday.
The fee increase would result in estimate revenue of $240,571, which is split 60-40 between the District Attorney and the Police Department to investigate and prosecute real estate fraud cases.
Such cases are on the rise with 25 in 2007, 50 in 2008 and 74 in 2009, according to Inspector Greg Ovanessian of the San Francisco Police Department.
“Many of the victims that we have seen in the last several years are not corporate conglomerates but are your basic mom and pop victims who at the end of their lives and contributions to their community have been victimized sometimes by family members other times by strangers or other known associates,” Ovanessian said.
Alan Kennedy, head of the District Attorney’s Office elder abuse and real estate fraud unit, said that “due to the mortgage problems in the industry of real estate starting about three or four years ago, the number of filings decreased substantially and amount of resources coming to the DA and the police have also decreased substantially, while at the same time the amount of cases of real estate fraud have increased in large part because of the problems in the mortgage industry.”
The fee increase is the maximum allowed under state law. The legislation was continued at the committee for one week after it was amended, at the request of Supervisor Sean Elsbernd, to include a provision that would automatically increase the fee if the state authorizes an increase.