Fraud Alert: Conmen Pose As Mhada Officials, Dupe Buyers Of Crores
At least six people have been charged under various sections of the Indian Penal Code for duping about 110 Mumbai homebuyers. The accused posed as officials of the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (Mhada) and duped the buyers of close to Rs 5.72 crore, the police say. The names of the accused are not yet public.
Last year, a 48-year man was held by the Kalachowki Police for duping three people of Rs 1.4 crore. The accused used the same tactic to make money. In 2014, too, several people were duped of Rs 5 crore in total by three conmen, posing as Mhada officials.
What do these cases teach us?
There was a specific modus operandi the accused adopted to lure the buyers.
First of all, they claimed the units would be priced much less than the actual asking price of a Mhada home. This is one sure-shot way to get a buyer’s attention. The desire to strike a sweet deal is often so pressing that certain basic rules of property purchase are overlooked by homebuyers.
It is almost impossible to make windfall while striking a property purchase deal.
If a property is being offered at unrealistic prices, that is certainly a red flag, and your best option would be to walk out on such an offer.
In both cases of duping, the offenders also used forged documents, posed them as genuine and won buyers’ trust to the extent that they paid their hard-earned money as earnest deposit.
The over-use of terms such as “due diligence” and “caution” might sound boring and repetitive. However, any laxity shown in this regard could mean you end up in a soup.
It is for this reason that we time and again advise to avail of the services of a lawyer when carrying out property transactions. This does mean you would end up spending more in buying your home. But, since the stakes are too high and everything must work out smoothly, hiring a lawyer is not an option; it is mandatory.
In all the cases, buyers were also taken for a “site visit”. The buyers in the above examples were quite convinced they were being shown genuine units. This is a thought to hold and consider.
It is of utmost importance to do your own ground work and check the veracity of the facts stated by sellers when buying a property.
Mere site visits do not mean you are being shown a unit up for sale.
Since in the above example, units offered by the conmen were government-built units, visits at Mhada office would have revealed they were being conned.