Sunday, February 14, 2010

Recent appraisal rules open door to shady middlemen

Many appraisers are familiar with poster boy of AMC criminality, Larry Holzer. Larry is barred from appraising in Florida, but not from opening an AMC, and capitalizing on the enormous opportunity HVCC has created for fraud.

"In 2007, Florida regulators permanently revoked Holzer's appraisal license because he had approved an error-filled appraisal done by a trainee under his supervision. The report didn't even have photos of the correct house.

"The revocation barred Holzer himself from appraising property in Florida. But it didn't keep him from starting an appraisal management company, Global Appraisal Solutions, that could do business in Florida and every other state."

According to his victims, Global collected fees from borrowers and then stiffed the appraisers. After sufficient pressure built up, Holzer simply dropped Global and opened another business,

"Appraisal Mediation Solutions, which boasts that it 'is one of the most trusted providers of real estate valuations in the nation.' State records show it was incorporated in October but no officers were listed, which is unusual. The address is 140 Island Way, Clearwater No. 245 — a $15-a-month box at a UPS store near Holzer's waterfront condo.

" 'There should be a regulatory board that keeps an eye on these companies [AMCs], because basically what they are is a shakedown middleman,'' says appraiser John Viscusi, one of Holzer's victims. 'All they do is collect a fee to channel an appraisal to an appraiser.' "


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