Defending Against Charges of Mortgage Fraud
Many people who are charged with mortgage fraud were not even aware that their actions were unlawful. For help defending yourself against these types of charges, please contact our white collar crime legal team today.
Defining Mortgage Fraud
Mortgage fraud is broadly defined as the act of deliberately providing false or misleading information during a real estate transaction. Because it has such a broad definition, a number of different acts fall under the category of mortgage fraud, including:
- Overstating income on a loan application, understating debt, or generally making false statements or submitting false documentation;
- Misrepresenting a loan as a gift for the purposes of making a down payment;
- Using a bait-and-switch technique to mislead a borrower into agreeing to a loan;
- Using someone else’s identity to complete a transaction;
- Double selling, which involves convincing two or more lenders to fully fund a mortgage loan;
- Inflating the value of the property being sold, using outdated comparable values, falsifying the true condition of the property, or failing to disclose details about the property that negatively affects its value; and
- Changing information submitted by a borrower.
Similarly, mortgage fraud can be committed by a variety of individuals, including buyers, sellers, and real estate professionals. The type of fraud, however, that a person is charged with usually depends on that person’s status. For instance, when a buyer commits mortgage fraud, it is usually referred to as fraud for housing, whereas, a seller or real estate agent who used fraudulent tactics has committed fraud for profit.
Defending Yourself Against Fraud Charges
Mortgage fraud can be prosecuted in either state or federal court, although state court is usually preferable, as the federal sentence for committing a single count of mortgage fraud can result in up to 30 years imprisonment and a $1 million fine. Because the consequences of a mortgage fraud conviction are so serious, it is critical for those who are accused of this type of fraud offense to mount a strong defense, which can include arguing that:
- The defendant did not intend to commit fraud;
- The defendant was the victim of identity theft; or
- The evidence against the defendant was the result of an illegal search.
All of these defenses require a thorough investigation into a defendant’s financial records, as well as the transaction in question, so it is especially important for defendants who have been charged with mortgage fraud to retain an attorney who has the resources and experience necessary to build a strong defense. Furthermore, those who are charged with mortgage fraud are often accused of other types of fraud crimes, including bank fraud, wire fraud, and mail fraud, so it is essential to speak with an attorney who is familiar with all of these white collar crimes.
Request a Free Consultation Today
To speak with an experienced white collar crime attorney about your own pending mortgage fraud charges, please call Jeffrey S. Weiner, P.A. Criminal Defense Attorneys in Miami at 305-670-9919. Initial consultations are conducted free of charge, so please don’t hesitate to call or contact us online.