According to Peruvian law, anyone who purchases a home in good faith is allowed to keep it. However, organized crime groups are taking advantage of that clause in order to steal homes from their rightful owners.
According to Perú21, the police have recently uncovered a criminal band that has committed registry fraud in order to steal at least 30 homes around Lima.
According to the police, the scam is fairly simple. First, the fraudsters find a home that has been abandoned or whose owners are overseas. The criminals then go to the municipality, get all of the information about the home and the owners, verify the information with SUNARP, and then forge sale documents at a notary’s office. The new “owner” is another member of the criminal band, and waits for a period of time before selling the house again. The new owner can either be a member of the gang, in which case he or she takes out a mortgage on the house, or an innocent party, in which case the gang pockets the sale price.
According to Perú21, the police have already arrested two alleged members of the gang, but several others, including the group’s leader, have not yet been apprehended.
To prevent such fraud from occurring, the police recommend that homeowners sign up for an “alerta registral” with SUNARP, so that they are notified anytime someone tries to make any changes in the registry of their home.