Real estate fraud charges cover any type of fraud associated with a real estate sale or purchase. Depending on the exact nature of the crime, an offender could face misdemeanor, felony or even federal charges.

Review the California laws that govern real estate fraud and potential penalties for a conviction.

Grand theft

Some types of fraud involving real estate fall into the category of grand theft. These charges cover theft of property valued at or above $950. California prosecutors can impose either misdemeanor or felony charges for this crime. Misdemeanor grand theft carries a year in county jail while felony grand theft carries 16 months to three years in state prison depending on the circumstances of the crime.

Forgery

When real estate fraud involves forged documents, the state can seek charges for filing a false document. Examples include a forged real estate deed or financial documents associated with a real estate transaction. This felony charge results in up to three years in state prison or county jail along with a fine of up to $10,000.

Rent skimming

California defines this crime as either collecting rent for a residential property but not paying the mortgage. The state can also charge a landlord with rent skimming for collecting rent for units he or she does not own.

A conviction can result in either felony or misdemeanor penalties depending on how many acts of rent skimming took place. Both misdemeanor and felony charges carry a fine of up to $10,000. The person could receive a year in county jail for a misdemeanor and up to three years in prison for a felony.