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Two sides to appraisal technology debate

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Editor's note: Bending the numbers on home valuations is often referred to as appraisal inflation, and appraisers say it's common for colleagues to do this in order to satisfy clients and stay in business. Appraisers nationwide say commission greed among their clients is feeding the corruption. In this three-part series, we examined the problem and what the industry is doing to try to stop it. (See Part 1: 'Appraisal inflation' a major real estate problem and Part 2: Real estate appraisal laws lack teeth, funds.) Paul Robertson, 31, will serve 15 years in an Arkansas prison for manipulating real estate appraisals on properties in Benton, Ark. Robertson's scheme was using appraisal software to defraud lenders to grant home loans on empty lots, according to Robert Herzfeld, prosecuting attorney for the Saline County Prosecutor's office. To orchestrate the scheme, Robertson purchased new appraisal software and gave to an appraiser he contracted to work with him. According to Herzfel...