You have heard the ads on the radio for Elias Realty. The company calls itself the "Short Sale Expert." Now the way the company does short sales may have gotten it in trouble with the law.
On Wednesday the FBI and HUD raided its offices in Livonia and Brighton. The warrant is sealed, so agents could not comment on what the raid was about. No one was arrested.
"I am confidant nothing will come of this. We have not broken the law," said William Elias, the company's owner.
Elias says basically he is in trouble for turning his customers into short sale experts.He says sometimes customers come to him with legitimate hardships, but tell him they are only a payment or two behind on their mortgages.
He has informed them that in order to qualify for a short sale they need to be three months behind.
They come back later and start the process after they are 3 months behind. Elias says educating customers has helped him succeed.
He says Freddie Mac, a company that works the mortgage side of the business, wrongfully accused him of helping his customers work the system, and stopped working with him. He sued and says in response Freddie Mac filed a complaint about him. He believes that may have led to the raid.
A Freddie Mac spokesperson tells 7 Action News the raid is not about revenge after a lawsuit, but that the company can't comment further due to the pending litigation.
"Something isn't on the up and up," said one customer outside the Elias Realty office in Livonia on Wednesday. "I am not sure what it is."
He says he came to the office to talk to his real estate agent, and instead was greeted by federal agents with FBI and HUD shirts.
He may be a victim of either illegal activity or the fight between Freddie Mac and Elias Realty. He doesn't know.
He says he has been trying to close on a short sale, and if hasn't gone through.
"I got a call from the buyer and they said they can't get a mortgage. It's been two times now. They go all to way to close, then they find out it is Elias Realty handling it, and they back out."
William Elias says the company will reopen as soon as federal investigators are finished collecting evidence.
"We didn't do anything wrong, and are going to continue to do business. I don't want customers to think we can't take care of them," said Elias. "The problem we might have is if the feds take customer files that we need to close deals. That may cause problems."problems."problems."problems."