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Las Vegas Realtor sues USA Today for libel over mortgage fraud story

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  1. Libel and Privacy
A Las Vegas Realtor is suing USA Today for libel, saying a June 3 article about mortgage fraud tarnished her reputation…

A Las Vegas Realtor is suing USA Today for libel, saying a June 3 article about mortgage fraud tarnished her reputation and sank her career.

"I had lots of clients," Erin Schlumpf told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. "Now I can’t even get a client. Nobody will list with me or sell. I can’t even hang my license anywhere. I’m pretty much wiped out."

At issue in her lawsuit is USA Today reporter Greg Farrell’s 1,903-word story entitled "Mortgage fraud ground zero", about a nationwide pattern of mortgage fraud cases and a focal point, in Las Vegas. Farrell describes one particular deal involving business owner Steven Grimm, who faced federal fraud charges. According to the USA Today story, Grimm and his partner set up a buyer last year for a Las Vegas couple’s home with the stipulation that an extra $43,000 go to what turned out to be a company Grimm ran.

Schlumpf represented the couple who sold the home in the deal.

Toward the bottom of the article Farrell wrote, "There is no evidence to suggest that anyone connected to the deal other than Grimm and (his partner) is under investigation."