If you are in the banking or real estate business and have been accused of mortgage fraud, your career, reputation, and freedom will be on the line.
While there has been a significant amount of irresponsible lending and unscrupulous investment practices in the past ten years, there are also plenty of innocent individuals facing charges.
Types of Mortgage Fraud
Numerous activities can be labeled as mortgage fraud, which fall under two basic categories:
- Borrower fraud – when borrowers apply for a mortgage and falsify information. Common types of actions that the law considers borrower fraud include overstating income, misrepresenting facts to the loan officer, falsifying info on a refinancing application, and buying a home from a seller who does not actually own the deed.
- Professional fraud – professional fraud can involve a number of parties, including brokers, real estate agents, appraisers, closing agents, accountants, attorneys, investors, and home builders.
Those who work in the real estate field can be charged with a mortgage crime for any number of single actions, or for large multi-offense schemes. Agents might falsify documents to get a buyer approved, buyers and appraisers may join forces in a mortgage flipping scheme, or professionals may become involved in money laundering or wire fraud.
Stiff Penalties for Mortgage Fraud
The government takes mortgage fraud seriously. There are stiff penalties attached to fraud, depending upon the severity of the crime.
Most fraud crimes are considered felony offenses, and can warrant major penalties including:
- up to 30 years in prison;
- up to $1 million in fines for federal crimes, as well as state-mandated fines;
- damages to the wronged party for restitution; and
- a period of probation, with numerous court-specified requirements such as regular check-ins and random drug testing.
The above doesn’t even take into account how being convicted of a mortgage crime will affect your professional reputation and your personal life. Even being merely accused of such crimes can be extremely damaging.
Protecting Your Interests in Fraud Investigations
Secure legal counsel as soon as you suspect you’re under investigation. Your career, your reputation, and your freedom are of the utmost importance and you’ll need to do everything in your power to ensure you protect them.
Mortgage fraud defense often rests upon paperwork and electronic files, emails, and other documentation. Consulting with an attorney straightaway is very advantageous because he or she will be able to explore the case and begin collecting the necessary evidence to defend you. Your attorney will need time to carefully prepare a case that will earn you an acquittal, dismissal, or fight for reduced penalties.
Under investigation? Consult a New Jersey Defense, Pennsylvania Defense Firm ASAP
If you have become entangled in a mortgage fraud case in New Jersey or Pennsylvania, we encourage you to call on our team of defense attorneys at Dash Farrow, LLP. We will comb through the evidence, look for solutions, and develop strategies for obtaining a satisfactory outcome and uphold your rights.
Contact us today for a consultation so that we can set to work on preserving your rights and representing your interests: 856-235-8300.