I thank you for your time and you are very knowledgeable in this subject so I appreciate it. However, i know that extremely high interest rates are paid all the time in this business--in fact they're the "norm" in what I do. I wonder how they're getting around these rules you are referring to.
I guess that depends on how high the rates are in comparison to the usury laws and/or whether they apply to the specific circumstance. I'm not an expert in them by any stretch.
What if it weren't a "loan?" but it was a partnership? is there any way to pay an IRA 2-3 times the amount invested without issues?
The partnership is where you get into trouble. You can't combine your non-IRA investments with IRA investments and agree to have all or more of the income paid to the IRA. No matter how many strawmen you put in between.
Additionally, If a legitimate "arm's length" transaction really did pay 200-300% interest or whatever rate, there wouldn't likely be a problem. The thing that most likely gets you into trouble here is that it isn't an arm's length transaction and you are using non-IRA money as part of the investment (either directly or indirectly). You, the IRA owner, are determining how much interest to pay to the IRA (or at a minimum have control over the person who does make that determination) and are using your own funds to pay that interest.
I know that if you take out the IRA, and the person has a beneficial interest in the deal, it's no longer a loan and they can make as much as they want. Could an IRA be on the Deed and make a substantial profit?
An IRA can buy real estate (again provided it isn't otherwise a prohibited transaction due to some other reason like you personally owing an interest in it), and if that real estate skyrockets in value, that is fine. You CANNOT, however, purchase real estate in the IRA where you or another disqualified person owns an interest or controls an interest in the same real estate (or purchase it from yourself or a DQ'd person for that matter). i.e. your non-IRA funds cannot be used to invest in the same real estate.
I would also question the purchase of real estate in an IRA from a simply efficiency standpoint. If it is in the IRA, you don't get to take advantage of any of the tax deductions for depreciation, property taxes, etc. You don't recognized gain on the income, but often the deductions can outweigh the income and generate a useful tax loss for your income tax return, but I guess that is another topic.