Barbara Corcoran nearly scammed out of almost $400,000

A few days ago, “Shark Tank” host and mega-businesswoman Barbara Corcoran came close to losing nearly $400,000 in an email phishing scam when her bookkeeper received an email about an invoice “approving the payment for a real estate renovation,” Corcoran said in an article first published in People.

“I lost the $388,700 as a result of a fake email chain sent to my company,” Corcoran said. “It was an invoice supposedly sent by my assistant to my bookkeeper approving the payment for a real estate renovation. There was no reason to be suspicious as I invest in a lot of real estate.”

Fortunately, quick action prevented the money from making it to the scammer’s account.

“The money was wired through a German bank on the way to the scammer’s Chinese account,” Corcoran explained to NBC’s TODAY. “But my bank put pressure on the German bank and they froze the money giving us time to prove it was fraud. I really thought it was a goner.”

How did the scammers (almost) pull it off? Corcoran said that no one noticed her assistant’s email address was misspelled by one letter, making it a fake email address set up by the scammers. The type of fraud is called phishing and it’s becoming more common and more costly to the industry. Corcoran, however, said she’s over it. “I was upset at first, but then remembered it was only money,” she said. Of course, despite her Zen attitude, the smart business mogul put a plan into action, one that actually prevented her being defrauded.

Corcoran founded The Corcoran Group, a real estate brokerage in New York City, that she sold to NRT for $66 million in 2001. Despite her amazing success in business, given our collective penchant for reality TV, this uber-successful, mega-smart, shrewd businesswoman is perhaps best known as a host on the hit TV show “Shark Tank.”

Churchill Mortgage acquires Elev8 Mortgage

Churchill Mortgage has been expanding quite a bit in the Pacific Northwest, and they’ve just made another big move: the acquisition of Elev8 Mortgage. “In Bend, Ore., with a population of 94,520, Elev8 grew from a new broker shop to producing an average of $100 million a year,” the company said in a statement. Churchill Mortgage plans to transition the entire Elev8 team and office into a leading Churchill branch made up of former Elev8 employees.

Alignment among those all-important but intangible factors, like company culture and vision, were key factors in this acquisition.

“Acquiring Elev8 made sense because the team’s culture, vision and innovative mindset are all aligned with Churchill Mortgage,” said Churchill Mortgage Vice President of the Northwest Region, Kevin Hanna, in a statement. “We believe in putting people over profits and creating an exceptional experience for our borrowers, employees and partners alike. Our shared goals and ideals make the acquisition a perfect fit.”

For more information on evaluating and managing acquisitions, stay tuned in the coming weeks for on-demand video of the #NEXTWINTER20 session “Growing through B2B Partnerships” featuring M&A-experienced executives Tawn Kelley, president of Taylor Morrison Home Funding, and Daniela Bigalli, SVP of Sales and Marketing at Homestead Funding Corp.. This session is hosted by industry veteran Christy Moss, director of partner relations at FormFree.

#NEXTDC19 alum and former Treasury advisor Craig Phillips joins HouseCanary

Home valuation fintech provider HouseCanary announced that Craig Phillips joined as a Senior Advisor. Phillips most recently served as Counselor to Secretary Steven Mnuchin at the U.S. Department of the Treasury. He also provided a keynote address at #NEXTDC19, NEXT’s policy focused event in Washington DC.

Late last year all of the federal banking regulators, FDIC, OCC, and Federal Reserve, adopted a rule that raised the appraisal threshold required for residential real estate transactions from $250,000 to $400,000. Should be an interesting time at the home valuation-focused tech firm.

Phillips was a key policymaker during his time at the Treasury and at one point was in the running to run the entire operation. Phillips focused on financial institution and capital markets policy, debt management, fiscal policy, fiscal operations, government asset and liability management and general economic policy. 

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