Articles Posted in Fraud

In Maryland, to establish a claim of fraudulent misrepresentation, a plaintiff must prove: (1) that a false representation was made, (2) that its falsity was either known or that the representation was made with such reckless disregard to the truth as to be equivalent to actual knowledge of falsity, (3) that the representation was made for the purpose of defrauding the plaintiff, (4) that the plaintiff had the right to, and did, reasonably rely on the representation, and would not have acted had the misrepresentation not been made, and (5) that the plaintiff suffered damage directly resulting from the misrepresentation. See Swinson v. Lords Landing Village Condo., 360 Md. 462, 476, 758 A.2d 1008, 1016 (2000) (citing Gittings v. Von Dorn, 136 Md. 10, 15-16, 109 A. 553, 553-54 (1920); Martens Chevrolet v. Seney, 292 Md. 328, 333, 439 A.2d 534, 537 (1982)).

In determining the amount of damages for fraudulent misrepresentation in Maryland, the Court of Appeals adopted the “flexibility theory” in Hinkle v. Rockville Motor Co., 262 Md. 502, 519, 278 A.2d 42, 47 (1971). In doing so the court stated, “[it] has never taken a rigid stand in adopting one theory of damages to the exclusion of all others but has rather employed a flexible approach.” This approach uses four rules as a guide for the proper measure of damages in cases of fraudulent misrepresentation, which include:

(1) If the defrauded party is content with the recovery of only the amount that he actually lost, his damages will be measured under that rule;

Our Maryland plaintiff’s attorneys are experienced in handling cases involving Marylanders who are injured by unscrupulous realtors. Often we prosecute malpractice claims against the realtor for claims such as fraud or conflict of interest. During the course of this representation, we are asked how to file a complaint with the Board against these realtors for sanctions against the public.

Below is our internal memo which outlines the process:

(1) File complaint with The Greater Baltimore Board of REALTORS (GBBR) for violating Code of Ethics a. If found to be in violation of Code of Ethics – REALTOR may be subject to a fine, suspension of membership or expulsion from the association i. Must cite which section of Code of Ethics they violated
b. Claim = per incident
i. CANNOT process claims for monetary damages
ii. If legal action has been filed with Courts, CANNOT consider any complaint filed with GBBR until legal action has been resolved
iii. Complaint must be filed 180 days after facts were known
iv. Individual complaint being filed against must be member of GBBR
c. Copies of application to file complaint and information from website is attached

(2) File complaint with Maryland Real Estate Commission
a. Only accepts complaints against individuals with real estate licenses
b. Claims brought for violation of Title 17 of Business & Professions Article
i. Claim = per incident
ii. May recover compensation from Guaranty Fund for an actual loss
1. May not exceed $25,000 per claim
2. Claim must (1) be based on an act or omission of licensed real estate broker/sales person; (2) involve transaction that relates to real estate in MD; and (3) is based on an act or mission in which money or property is obtained by theft, embezzlement, false pretenses or forgery; or constitutes fraud or misrepresentation
c. If found to be in violation, sanctions include – license revoked, required to pay a fine, license suspended, reprimands
i. Copies of application to file complaint and information from website is attached
ii. Examples of violations & penalties imposed; complaints which were denied; and complaints which were awarded funds from the Guaranty Fund are attached
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