Buyer Loses $40,000 in Earnest Money Deposit Scam

In March we reported that a wave of earnest money deposit scams had reappeared and warned brokers and buyers to be vigilant. Here in June, these same scams are still occurring, and the perpetrators are absconding with even larger deposits. 

This type of scam does not involve cybercrime, email phishing or identity theft. It’s an old-fashioned scam that appears to follow the same basic format.  An agent claims to have a listing for a short sale (or probate or other distressed property), but the property cannot be shown. After acceptance of an offer, the buyer makes an initial deposit usually in the $5,000 to $10,000 range, but as high as $40,000, into the listing broker’s non-independent broker escrow.

As with most short sale or probate properties, the process can take several months, and the buyer’s agent is assured that the listing agent is working towards lender approval – it is just taking more time.  Then the communication slows down, the selling agent begins to get concerned and calls the listing broker’s escrow.  There is no answer, no return call, no other number to contact, and the earnest money deposit is gone.

This scam is nearly the same as a series of scams that appeared in the Los Angeles area about two years ago. The Los Angeles County sheriff eventually arrested the wrongdoers but only after millions of dollars had been lost.

Don’t Fall Victim to Groundless Independent Contractor Litigation

C.A.R. recently learned that some members have received solicitations from lawyers regarding the independent contractor status in real estate. These lawyers are attempting to instigate groundless litigation and creating a false impression that just following the licensing law – such as required supervision and salespersons only working for one broker – creates an employment status. Don’t be fooled by such uninformed messages from those trying to create litigation. 

For over half a century, salespersons have overwhelmingly chosen the legal option of being independent contractors and running their business under California’s real estate licensing law. The licensing law has provided this option for decades.

Moreover, the real estate licensing law reiterated the validity of real estate licensees as independent contractors with amendments that went into effect January 1, 2019. These statutes specifically reiterate the independent contractor as a lawful choice between a broker and salesperson. 

As recently as the current legislative session, AB 5, which is pending in the legislature, again refers to existing code sections making clear that existing law supports the independent contractor business model. The licensing law and other laws require independent contractors to have certain protocols including some specific contractual language such as that included in the C.A.R. Independent Contractor agreements and it is important to follow those practices.

Brokers and salespersons can be rest assured they don’t need to choose between being an independent contractor or losing their license to practice real estate.

Taste 2019

MCAR’s Scholarship Fundraiser is an evening filled with fun and delicious food!

We are pleased to formally announce this year’s Taste of MCAR event taking place on Thursday, April 11 at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Seaside from 5-8:00 PM.

With your support, we hope to elevate the bar even higher in raising money for the MCAR Charitable Trust. The MCAR Charitable Trust donates $40,000 annually in scholarships to 14 graduating seniors and 2 community college students throughout Monterey County while also partnering with other local non-profits throughout the area.

Sample sumptuous food from local restaurants & caterers, enjoy great company and have an opportunity to win fabulous raffle prizes.


Sponsors are encouraged to contact MCAR at their earliest convenience as booth selection is available on a first-come, first-serve basis upon receipt of your paid sponsorship. We encourage you to be creative with your decorations. This year there will be a prize awarded for the best-decorated booth.

The Charitable Trust would like to extend a unique invitation to Realtors this year in an effort to raise additional dollars for the MCAR Charitable Trust. The “Sponsor a Scholar” program provides individual Realtors, Teams or Real Estate offices an opportunity to sponsor one full scholarship of $2500 to one of the public high schools in Monterey County.

The program will be based on a first come, first serve basis regarding the choice of High School. The $2500 scholarship will be in your name (individual, team or office) with the opportunity to present the scholarship personally at the school’s scheduled awards event. We will showcase the Sponsor a Scholar participants at our upcoming “Taste of MCAR event” on April 11th in addition to local media, upcoming newsletters, website, and social platforms.

If you have an interest in participating, please contact Dom ( with your school of choice.


If you’re unable to attend this year’s event, please consider making a cash contribution to the Charitable Trust. Contributions of at least $150 will be recognized on the MCAR website. A contribution of $300 (Friends of MCAR Sponsor) will be recognized at the event and the MCAR website. Contributions of $500 or more will be recognized at the event, the MCAR website and at our annual Installation event held in December!


We need your help in making this year’s raffle bigger and better than any year prior. Please consider donating an item valued at $100 or more and you will be recognized as a raffle item sponsor on our website and at the raffle table.

We look forward to seeing you there! To take a look at photos from previous “Taste” events, CLICK HERE


To be determined

MCAR’s Charitable Trust is a Non-Profit Corporation 501©(3) based in Del Rey Oaks, CA. providing over $40,000 annually in scholarships to college-bound seniors throughout Monterey County.

Installation Luncheon | GAD Holiday Luncheon

If you haven’t already done so don’t forget to register for our 2018 MCAR Installation Luncheon and our GAD Holiday Luncheon.

THANK YOU to our 2018 Installation Sponsors!!!

Supporting Sponsor: The Monterey Herald

Champagne Reception Sponsor: KW Coastal Estates

Table Sponsors:

Blue Adobe Mortgage

Chase Home Loans

Sotheby’s International Realty

StormND Simple IT Co.

Wells Fargo Home Mortgage


THANK YOU to our 2018 GAD Holiday Sponsors!

GAD Holiday Luncheon Sponsors:

Women’s Council of Realtors-Monterey Peninsula

Treehouse Mortgage Group

MCAR 2018 Installation Luncheon

A BIG THANK YOU to Monterey Herald for being our supporting sponsor! KW Coastal Estates for being champagne reception sponsor! Also Blue Adobe Mortgage, Chase Home Loans, Wells Fargo Home Mortgage and Sotheby’s International Realty for being table sponsors!!! If you are interested in attending or being a sponsor please look at the information below for more details!