Any form of intentional misrepresentation or deception for gain is considered fraud, and it is illegal. Where mortgages are concerned, fraud can be committed by individuals in obtaining a single mortgage, or by an organization in the form of predatory lending, foreclosure rescue scams, and mortgage reduction scams. While the FBI tends to focus on the fraud committed against borrowers by institutions and their employees, you could be charged with mortgage fraud as an individual as well. We take a look at how consumers get caught up in mortgage fraud to help you avoid unknowingly committing a serious crime.
Lying on an Application Is Fraud
You probably already know that it’s not right to lie on a mortgage application, but maybe you just need to tweak some numbers to make sure you qualify. You know you’ll be able to make payments, so what’s the harm? You might even be encouraged by your real estate agent or loan officer to fudge some numbers. After all, everyone benefits when the sale goes through. However, when you knowingly lie on an application, you are committing fraud, even if no one else is harmed by the crime. You could also face federal charges for forgery.
The more common form of individual mortgage fraud—one that is more frequently pursued by the FBI—is fraud through identity theft. If you attempt to obtain financing using someone else’s financial information, you are committing mortgage fraud. This is a serious offense.
Defending Mortgage Fraud Charges
Federal prosecutors have to prove that you intentionally set out to defraud the mortgage lender in order to make fraud charges stick. If you did not commit fraud intentionally—perhaps you made a mistake or were given misinformation—we will build a case to prove that. If others were involved in coercing you to commit fraud, that could be your defense.
Under federal law, mortgage fraud can result in up to 30 years in federal prison and up to $1 million in fines. It is important that you take these charges seriously and that you hire the best federal defense attorney you can afford.
Have You Been Charged With A Federal Crime?