Investigation uncovers real estate kickback schemeby Dan Olson, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — State officials say they have revoked the real estate licenses of people involved in an alleged scheme to profit from inflating prices of property.
The alleged statewide fraud included 45 transactions among a group of real estate insiders, according to Minnesota Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman. The real estate people recruited buyers to help them perpetrate the alleged fraud.
"Inflating appraisals for property and arranging for loan funds to be kicked back to buyers," said Rothman. "Basically, it would be sheer profit to people who didn't deserve any money."
Rothman alleges that Steven Hyland, a primary broker for Split Rock Realty based in the Twin Cities suburb of Excelsior, allowed his real estate sales staff to carry out an illegal kickback scheme deliberately intended to defraud lenders.
The allegations detailed in the statement of charges claim that funds ranging from $25,000 to $70,000 were then illegally diverted from the sellers of those properties back to the buyers.