Recently, I went to a short sale listing appointment in Los Feliz, and the seller ask me to bring her a buyer that would pay her $20,000 outside of escrow. I Immediatley told “NO – that is Bank Fraud and punishable with a federal prison sentence.” Let me be clear, the seller is entitled to $3000 from the HAFA program, and any other incentives that the bank offers. I have seen incentives as high as $30,000 to get the seller to short sale the home. But anything outside of the escrow that is not reported on the closing statement is fraud. I think people, partiularly agent’s that should know better, take this lightly. I was told by another agent that “it happens quite often”. Sure, there may be the occasional unwitting homeowner may just be looking tor a easy payout, but any agent that engages in such behavior must be crazy. To risk your career or even jail time for a couple thousand dollars? You have to remember, as soon as that deal goes sideways, everyone points at the agent. I will never compromise my duty as a CA licensed realtor for any amount of money. Sellers need to be made aware that these things that often take place can hold very serious consequences. It’s takes a long time to build a good reputation, but just a minute to destroy it.