Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller’s office has filed a lawsuit against two Des Moines business partners for scamming home-buyers. Miller says John J. Miller and Christine Frank repeatedly got inflated appraisals for homes, then sold the overpriced houses to buyers who couldn’t afford them, and had a deal with a mortgage company to make them loans.
His office charges a violation of consumer fraud statutes, for a number of reasons — mainly, the inflated price. He says they gave people the impression the property they were buying was worth roughly twice its real value. Miller says in one example, a home assessed by the county at 55-thousand dollars was sold by Miller and Frank for one-hundred-eleven-thousand dollars.
Unfortunately, all nine of the properties were foreclosed. Miller says it was because the price was so high, the buyers couldn’t make the payments. Miller says buyers who couldn’t afford to make a down payment were told the dealers would make their down payment for them — and they did, out of their profits.
“These people were not helped,” Miller says. He says the sellers put them into a house on which they were paying twice what it was worth, and they weren’t able to make their payments. In a short time, the buyers lost the house. The Attorney General says buyers should check with their local assessors office to get the appraisal of a home’s value before buying it.