Mortgage Fraud Defense Attorney
Mortgage fraud is a broad concept – it can include any action that individuals or entities take to perpetuate fraud during the mortgage process. Acts of mortgage fraud generally entail when someone lies or purposefully omits important information during a mortgage application or approval process. Usually, these lies, or omissions of information are done for personal gain. Mortgage fraud is a federal offense, but unlike most federal offenses, mortgage fraud does not have its own federal statute associated with it. However, the government can (and does) prosecute mortgage fraud under associated statutes, such as bank fraud, wire fraud and conspiracy. Mortgage fraud generally involves two parties: the party providing false information and the party that relies on that information to complete a transaction. Most often, mortgage fraud is prosecuted under the federal wire fraud statute – 18 U.S.C. 1343. Examples of potential mortgage fraud schemes are:
- A potential homebuyer lying on his or her loan application in order to secure more favorable mortgage terms.
- A mortgage broker colludes with a banking institution for approval of an un-approvable mortgage loan.
- A mortgage applicant using a “straw buyer” to secure a mortgage.
- A double mortgage being issued for the same property.
- A mortgage applicant uses the identity of someone else to apply for a mortgage in order to get approved or to secure better financial terms.
Punishment under the wire fraud statute can result in fines and up to 20 years in prison. However, if the wire fraud scheme affects a financial institution or is connected to a presidentially declared disaster or emergency, the potential penalties are fines of up to $1,000,000 and up to 30 years in prison. Because a lack of oversight involving the mortgage process contributed greatly to the financial crisis of 2008, the government has aggressively prosecuted acts of mortgage fraud since then. Individuals applying for a mortgage need to ensure all information presented to a financial institution is accurate and any inaccuracies that are discovered after the fact need to be promptly addressed.
Recent Cases the Department of Justice has Prosecuted Mortgage Fraud
- Two Michigan men were sentenced to 33 months and 24 months respectively for their roles in a mortgage fraud scheme. According to court records, the two men caused dozens of fraudulent mortgage applications to be approved by using straw men instead of actual people as the recipients of mortgage loans. After the fraudulent mortgages were approved by various banks, the two men then sold all the properties in order to turn a profit.
- A man who owned a mortgage company in Florida was sentenced to 133 months in prison after pleading guilty for his involvement in a mortgage fraud scheme. According to the plea documents, the man’s company illegally approved hundreds of mortgage applications for individuals who did not qualify for a mortgage. After the mortgages were approved, the man’s company sold these mortgages to various financial institutions, making several million dollars in profit. The unqualified individuals eventually defaulted on their mortgages causing massive financial losses to the institutions that purchased the mortgages from the man’s company.
- A woman in Las Vegas was convicted of wire fraud by a federal jury for her role in a mortgage fraud scheme. According to evidence presented at trial, the woman was part of a house-flipping ring in Nevada and misrepresented pertinent information on several mortgage applications. On these mortgage applications, the woman lied about her income and stated she was going to use the mortgaged properties as her homestead in order to secure more favorable loan terms. In reality, the woman sold the mortgaged properties as soon as her loan applications were approved.
Speak with a Federal Mortgage Fraud Defense Attorney from Oberheiden P.C.
For more information about the clients we serve or the services we offer, please contact Oberheiden P.C. to arrange a free and confidential initial consultation. To schedule a time to speak with one of our federal mortgage fraud defense lawyers, call 888-680-1745 or contact us online today.