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An individual who acts as a front for others who actually incur the expense and obtain the profit of a transaction.
In the terminology employed by real estate dealers, a straw man is an individual who acts as a conduit for convenience in holding and transferring title to the property involved. For example, such a person might act as an agent for another in order to take title to real property and execute whatever documents and instruments the principal directs with respect to the transaction.
n. 1) a person to whom title to property or a business interest is transferred for the sole purpose of concealing the true owner and/or the business machinations of the parties. Thus, the straw man has no real interest or participation but is merely a passive stand-in for a real participant who secretly controls activities. Sometimes a straw man is involved when the actual owner is not permitted to act, such as a person with a criminal record holding a liquor license. 2) an argument which is intended to distract the other side from the real issues or waste the opponent's time and effort, sometimes called a "red herring" (for the belief that drawing a fish across a trail will mislead hunting dogs).