Understand Some Basics On Mortgage Fraud
According to the FBI, mortgage fraud is an increasing problem in America, with perpetrators using resilient and complex schemes. Even though the exact amount of money lost to mortgage fraud is unknown, it is estimated that more than $10 billion in loans were obtained from fraudulent applications in 2010 alone. With such amounts being lost in a single year, it is no surprise that the FBI is committed to aggressively pursuing organizations and individuals who engage in mortgage fraud.
Defining Mortgage Fraud
Mortgage fraud is considered a subcategory of Financial Institution Fraud (FIF). According to the FBI, mortgage fraud is a crime characterized by some sort of material omission, misstatement, or misrepresentation in relation to a mortgage loan, which is then relied upon by a lender.
Mortgage fraud can be categorized into two main categories:
- Fraud for profit: This type of mortgage fraud involves stealing money and equity from homeowners or lenders. It is a type of crime usually committed by industry insiders.
- Fraud for housing: This is a type of mortgage fraud usually committed by borrowers looking to acquire or maintain ownership of a house.
Some examples of mortgage fraud schemes include;
- Home equity conversion mortgage (HECM)
- Equity skimming
- Air loans
- Loan modification schemes
- Commercial real estate loans
- Illegal property flipping
- Foreclosure rescue schemes
- Silent second
When it comes to individual mortgage fraud scams, identity theft and asset/income falsification are the most common.
Federal and State Prosecutions for Mortgage Fraud
It is important to note that mortgage fraud can be prosecuted at both state and federal levels, depending on the case’s specifics. However, there is no federal statute for mortgage fraud. Usually, when it comes to federal prosecutions, defendants are prosecuted under the statutes for bank fraud (18 U.S. Code § 1344), mail fraud (18 U.S. Code § 1341), wire fraud (18 U.S. Code § 1343), or some combination. However, mortgage fraud cases are often treated as bank fraud cases.
When mail fraud is prosecuted at the state level, a defendant is charged under Florida Statute 817.545. According to state law, anyone who commits a crime of mortgage fraud in Florida is guilty of a felony of the third degree. But, if the loan value stated on documents used in the mortgage lending process is more than $100,000, the individual is guilty of a felony of the second degree. A felony of the third degree is punishable by up to five years in Florida State Prison, whereas a second-degree felony is punishable by a prison term of up to 15 years.
Contact a Fort Lauderdale Criminal Defense Attorney
When it comes to mortgage fraud, laws can be confusing. Because of this and the hefty consequences associated with this crime, it is crucial that you speak to a skilled mortgage fraud defense attorney if you stand accused of mortgage fraud. An experienced defense attorney can help you navigate the complex laws and fight for a favorable outcome.
At Joyce A. Julian, P.A., we will use our vast experience inside the criminal court to defend your rights, freedom, and reputation. We will put our best defense forward against the prosecuting team, regardless of whether yours is a federal or state mortgage fraud case. Contact one of our experienced Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorneys today at 954-467-6656 to schedule a consultation.