Friday, July 21, 2017

Cyber Fraud Awareness - Commercial Real Estate and Banking

On June 9th 2017, the CCIM Miami-Dade-Monroe District hosted its CCIM Monthly Meeting at Morton’s Steakhouse in Coral Gables. The topic was on Cyber Awareness by Chris Scott, an expert on Cyber Security.  Mr. Scott is also an "ethical hacker", advising banks and businesses on internet fraud. 

Miami-Dade CCIM District Monthly Meeting / Cyber Awareness re Fraud

Fraud is Everywhere in Our Digital Workplace

As we transact business in the information age, where global economies rely heavily on computers and e-commerce, we need to be alert to the various sources of fraud perpetrated via email and especially with bank wire transfers.  In commercial real estate, we spend a large portion of the day on our computers using the internet emailing clients, researching properties, market values, property owners, and analyzing investment properties. The computer and the internet have become an integral part of the profession.

Mr. Scott warned us to be extremely careful with our digital communications as cyber fraud is on the increase.  In particular, the headers of an email should be carefully examined to see the URL and information regarding the sender.

According to the AFP Payments Fraud and Control Survey, 73% of companies were targets of payments fraud in 2015, up from 62 percent in 2014. Moreover, 39% of corporate practitioners from these companies report the potential loss from fraud was greater than $250,000. And the preferred payment method responsible for fraud loss was checks and wire transfers.

Common Fraud Tactics

Mr. Scott lists common fraud tactics:


  • Phishing - An email that tricks recipient into taking some type of harmful action
  • Business Email Compromise (BEC) - A certain attack where the attacker pretends to be an authorized user of a system in order to gain access to it
  • Ransomware - A certain malicious software made to block access to a computer system
  • Wire Fraud - Targeting of banks and financial institutions via wire transfers
Common Scenarios

As an example, ten employees work for a boutique real estate company. The company decides to hire a new employee to work in accounts payables.  A cyber criminal, without being noticed, may have already compromised the real estate company’s network as a result of prior surveillance and email communication. Cyber criminals do their homework and may have set up a fake URL that closely resembles the company information and web site. They monitor the existing network traffic and observe the writing styles of key figures in preparation to compromise the systems.

Another scenario: What if the Cyber Criminal masquerading as the company’s boss or high ranking employee sends an email to the new employee with wire instructions to send $100,000 to client?  He or she may not be fooled but that email, but what if the Cyber Criminal more clever?

Tips

Mr. Scott provides helpful tips against Cyber Criminals. They are:
  • ·        Check the email address and email header. Look for the sender’s name and email header.
  • ·        Be suspicious of attachments. Only download and open those that you are expecting.
  • ·        Notice the email’s greeting. Does the sender know your name and use it?
Anyone can be a target of these cyber criminals, but it is our responsibility stay alert and educated.

by Carlos Rodriguez Jr. & Britt J. Rosen, CCIM

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Contaminated Property and Sea Level Rise / S Florida

On the 10th of February, the Miami-Dade District held its monthly luncheon at Morton’s Steakhouse in Coral Gables. The topic was “Environmentalism and Commercial Real Estate.” Michael Goldstein, Esq., Managing Partner at The Goldstein Environmental Law Firm, gave the first presentation: An Environmental Primer to Help CCIMs Successfully Navigate Contaminated Land Transactions in South Florida.

Historically, contaminated land has been a problem for buyer / sellers and to finance. It was considered not only an environmental problem, but also a business problem. Banks would not lend, thus deals would not close. But Mr. Goldstein explained how contaminated land is not a problem but rather an opportunity for investors, developers, and government to cooperate. 

One of the earliest brownfield (land with environmental issues) projects in Miami-Dade County was AMD Codina Beacon Lakes- NW 117TH AVE and NW 25TH street. It was a massive illegal landfill site, contaminated with petroleum hydrocarbons and arsenic. Through State Liability Protection and Voluntary Cleanup Tax Credits, the site was redeveloped into an office warehouse park.

Mr. Goldstein debunked several myths concerning contaminated land:

-         Myth: It is impossible to transact contaminated land in Miami-Dade County.
-         Fact: Goldstein Environmental Law firm supported over 100 such transactions in 2016.

-         Myth: You can’t get financing on contaminated land.
Fact: Lenders routinely lend on contaminated land of all kinds.

-         Myth: You can’t insure contaminated land.
-         Fact: The marketplace is awash with environmental insurance.

State and Federal governments are subsidizing cleanup costs for these development projects, which represents a wonderful opportunity for investors.

The second talk was given by Wayne M. Pathman. He is managing partner of Miami-based Pathman Lewis. He is one of Florida’s distinguished lawyers with more than 30 years’ experience. Mr. Pathman heads the firm’s Land Use, Zoning, and Environmental Law Section. He is the Chair of the City of Miami’s Sea Level Rise Committee and the Chair of the Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce. 

Wayne M. Pathman, Esq.
Mr. Pathman spoke about the risks of sea-level rise, especially in Miami and costal areas. Sea-level rise is not something that will happen in 20 years or in 10; it is occurring every day. In West Miami, some residents were recently concerned of a foul odor, and one of the reasons was attributed to sea-level rise. About 40% of Miami-Dade County has septic tanks which are vulnerable to the water table rising due to waste collecting below ground which would be exposed to the rising water.  Also, sewer lines that are buried underground are vulnerable to sea level rise.  Thus, there is a lot of work to be done with our infrastructure in getting it ready for the water level rise.   It is interesting to note that FEMA has done little to remap the United States with regard to coastal area and this issue.

Miami is vulnerable to sea-level rise because of its low-line geology and limestone foundation. This will inevitably have an effect on both residential and commercial real estate. We are witnessing it now in Miami Beach, where insurance premiums are and will continue to rise.  

Sea-level rise affect other sectors of business including financing, environmental laws and taxes. Most importantly, how will it affect south Florida investments and investors?

Carlos Rodriguez Jr. // KW Commercial
www.linkedin.com/in/crodjr


Sunday, January 22, 2017

2017 Environmental Primer // South Florida Commercial Real Estate Transactions


What Commercial Real Estate Professionals Need to Know About Sea Level Rise and Chemical Contamination / Brownfields

On February 10, 2017 - The Miami-Dade CCIM District is excited to announce this timely, cutting edge lunch seminar focusing on two very pressing and unique South Florida environmental concerns that real estate professionals are increasingly confronted with when negotiating deals - chemical contamination and sea level rise.  

We are fortunate to have two experienced legal practitioners to speak to these issues and provide insight into how CCIMs' and their guests can successfully navigate the challenges, recognize and take advantage of the opportunities, and advise buyers and sellers regading negotiations resulting in a successful closing. 


Michael R. Goldstein is the Managing Partner of The Goldstein Environmental Law Firm, P.A. in downtown Miami, FL. Michel R. Goldstein is a Martindale Hubble AV Preeminent and Chambers & Partners rated attorney and the Managing Partner of The Goldstein Environmental Law Firm, P.A., a boutique Florida environmental practice focusing on property transactions, Brownfields redevelopment, pollution assessment and remediation, facility permitting, compliance assurance, defense of regulatory enforcement proceedings, and environmental based economic incentives. Michael's practice over the past 25 years has emphasized helping clients navigate environmental risk and liability risk issues associated with buying, selling, financing, building on, and otherwise reusing properties impacted by contamination. 

Wayne Pathman, the Managing Partner of Pathman Lewis, LLP will be on the panel of speakers.

Wayne M. Pathman is managing partner of Miami-based Pathman Lewis. He is one of Florida’s distinguished lawyers with more than 30 years’ experience. Mr. Pathman heads the firm’s Land Use, Zoning, and Environmental Law Section. He is the Chair of the City of Miami’s Sea Level Rise Committee and the Chair of the Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce.

Wayne M. Pathman, Esq. 
Mr. Pathman represents businesses, developers and individuals before administrative and regulatory bodies at the municipal, state, and federal levels in land use, zoning, and environmental matters. He is a leading authority and lecturer on issues regarding water law. 

To sign up for the event, please click here.

Early registration is recommended due to high demand and limited seating.

The meeting will be held at Morton's Steakouse in the BAC Colonnade Building in Coral Gables, one block north of Miracle Mile on the east side of Ponce de Leon. 


2017 Outlook Commercial Real Estate Conference

Coral Gables - January 18, 2017

The CCIM Institute Miami-Dade District hosted the event "Storms on the Horizon"  with 320 guests in attendance at the Coral Gables Country Club.  This annual Outlook Commercial Real Estate Conference was chaired by Paul White, CCIM. 

National CCIM President Robin L. Webb and CCIM State Chapter President Scott Lloyd were present.   

The conference featured economist George Ratiu, Director of Quantitative & Commercial Research with the National Association of REALTORS® in Washington, D.C.  Mr. Ratiu spoke about the local and national economy and expects the commercial and residential real estate industry to "continue its upward performance" this year despite Miami's large inventory of luxury condominiums.  Much of the optimism is fueled by South Florida's large population growth and low unemployment rate, Ratiu said. 

TotalBank was the Grand Sponsor for the 7th year, and Ten-X was the Platinum Sponsor. Ten-X also hosted a "The Night Before" party at Graziano's in Coral Gables. Ramon M. Rodriguez, EVP of TotalBank addressed the CCIM group along with Ten-X's Justin Latour and Marc Whol. Gold Sponsors included: Allied Building Inspection ServicesCoconut Grove Bank.

Speakers on Miami-Dade commercial real estate sectors included the following:
The local economy and issues pertaining to Miami were covered by Tom Hudson, WLRN .      
·            
Britt J. Rosen, President CCIM Miami-Dade District