The mortgage and credit industry is highly regulated, so any paperwork mistake made by an employee can easily lead to allegations of fraud. Although prosecutors must prove that a defendant attempted to commit fraud in order to be convicted, the defendants could suffer irreparable damage to their reputation while the charges are dismissed. To make sure this doesn’t happen to you, contact a white collar crime attorney to evaluate your case and help defend your interests.
Definition of Mortgage Fraud
Mortgage fraud is characterized by some type of misrepresentation, omission, or error regarding a loan. For the omission or misrepresentation to qualify as fraud, it must be material, which means it could influence a bank’s decision on important issues such as approving a loan, accepting modified repayment terms, or accepting a reduced payment.
There are two main types of mortgage fraud: for-profit fraud and home fraud. Bank officials, appraisers and mortgage brokers are the most accused of this type of crime, which implies the use of privileged information and specialized authority or knowledge to facilitate or commit fraud. Unlike home fraud, for-profit fraud is not intended to secure your home, but is intended to take advantage of the mortgage loan process to steal stocks or cash from homeowners or lenders. For example, companies that renegotiate the terms of homeowner loans are often accused of demanding high rates and negotiating unfavorable terms for their clients.
Home fraud is generally committed by borrowers who are motivated to maintain or purchase a home. The most common examples of activities that are collected as housing fraud include:
- Misrepresenting income or asset information on a loan application;
- Convincing an appraiser to misrepresent the value of a property that generally involves one or more of the following activities: falsifying loan documentation, inflating a buyer’s income, conducting a fraudulent appraisal, or providing bribes to buyers.
Although prosecutors often prioritize for-profit fraud schemes, mortgage fraud charges should not be taken lightly, as even claiming that a home will be used as the primary residence in a loan application can include serious penalties, including Ruinously expensive fines and, in some cases, prison time.
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Because prosecutors and government officials are so cautious with mortgage fraud schemes, many administrative and filing errors are used as the basis for official criminal investigations that can end in accusations of fraudulent activity. This type of charge can have serious consequences, so it is essential to start formulating a strong defense immediately. If you are being investigated for your participation in a mortgage fraud plan, please contact Jeffrey S. Weiner, PA, Miami Criminal Defense Attorneys at (305) 670-9919 for a free evaluation of your case.