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Real Estate Lawyer Suspended for Charging “Fake Fees”

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Disciplinary case from New Jersey.

A real estate lawyer in New Jersey who overcharged clients for document recording fees has been suspended from the practice of law.

The discipline came after an audit revealed the lawyer collected fake fees or fee amounts in excess of actual expenses incurred, in part by collecting estimated costs rather than actual costs.

The attorney “engaged in a carefully constructed scheme to bleed clients of funds to which she was not entitled” including 138 real estate transactions from 2011 to 2015, according to the ABA Journal. The total amount which the attorney overcharged her clients was nearly $67,000.

From the ABA Journal:

“The audit found [the attorney] overcharged her clients for government recording fees, land survey fees and title insurance fees. She also routinely collected and retained fees that she never incurred for bank and overnight fees in real estate closings, according to an April decision by the New Jersey Supreme Court’s disciplinary review board. [The attorney] said all the other lawyers were charging inflated fees, so she did too.”

Here is the November 6 disciplinary order.

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