The Sacramento County District Attorney's office has expanded its real estate fraud unit to fight scammers who are preying on struggling area homeowners, District Attorney Jan Scully said Monday.
"Our goal is to prevent future victims by aggressively pursuing and prosecuting these crimes, as well as educating the community on how to protect themselves," Scully said in a statement.
The office's long-time real estate unit now has an extra lawyer and investigator to handle citizen complaints and prosecute offenders, said Marv Stern, assistant chief deputy district attorney.
Under the new system the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department and Sacramento Police Department no longer have their own investigators for real estate fraud. (Other cities have their own systems).
"It's a one-stop shop now," said Marv Stern, assistant chief deputy district attorney. "We're hoping to make it more of a specialty and do a more efficient job."
The unit is funded by a $3 fee charged for recording many real estate documents with the county. The expansion also occurs amid a serious amount of real estate fraud and scamming in a region hard hit by the housing crash.
Stern steered callers with fraud complaints toward the unit's phone number: 916.874.9045.
"We are here to help before someone makes a mistake that could have huge ramifications," he said.