In periods of economic instability, instances of mortgage fraud are more common than ever in the state of Florida. Mortgage fraud is a broad term that covers a long list of white collar criminal activities that involve falsified information given to banking institutions or mortgage companies for financial profit. Mortgage fraud can be committed by individuals who are not affiliated with mortgage companies or by mortgage company employees or loan agency employees. Mortgage fraud crimes can carry serious legal ramifications and cases where individuals have been charged with mortgage fraud can become complex very quickly. Most cases of mortgage fraud involve falsified information on documents that have been given to a mortgage company or mortgage loan company. In the state of Florida, related crimes are treated seriously and may be prosecuted aggressively. For this reason, anyone who may be facing charges should retain a Florida mortgage fraud lawyer immediately.
At Joffe Law, P.A., we have a staff team with expert lawyers who have years of experience defending clients from white collar crimes at both federal and state levels. Our attorneys have successfully defended many cases over the years and can help you protect your rights as well. Understanding how mortgage fraud is defined and what the possible penalties might be can help you determine what your next legal move should be.
How is mortgage fraud defined in Florida?
In Florida, mortgage fraud is defined as falsifying information on a home loan document or misleading a mortgage company for financial or property gain. This means that information may be represented incorrectly either accidentally or on purpose to begin an investigation into whether or not a Tampa individual has committed this type of federal fraud offense.
Do not say anything that might incriminate you. Speak with an attorney first.
Examples of Mortgage Fraud
Mortgage fraud can cover a wide range of activities. Here are a few examples of situations where an individual may face allegations of mortgage fraud crimes.
False Information to a Loan Company
If an individual is filling out forms to attain a mortgage and intentionally provides false information, the mortgage company may decide that fraudulent activity is taking place. This will usually occur when a home loan document is submitted with intentionally falsified information to a mortgage company in order to receive a loan.
Fraud for housing
Fraud for housing occurs when a borrower provides incorrect information on a loan application in an attempt to gain better loans or nicer properties.
Fraud for profit
Fraud for profit takes place when a mortgage broker or mortgage appraiser does something fraudulent in order to earn money on a mortgage transaction. This kind of mortgage fraud may also be accompanied by other kinds of white collar criminal charges.
The Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act is an act that was passed in 2009 in an attempt to locate individuals actively engaging in mortgage fraud crimes. This act made penalties for mortgage fraud much more severe than they ever have been before.
What are the penalties?
Since the passing of The Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act, penalties for crimes of mortgage fraud are very severe. Individuals who have been successfully convicted of mortgage fraud under this newly passed statute could face penalties of up to 30 years in prison as well as fines of up to $1 million. For this reason, contacting a qualified legal representative with experience defending clients in state and federal court is essential.
When do the feds get involved?
Mortgage fraud, like most fraud-related crimes, can be prosecuted at a federal level. Mortgage fraud cases will move to this type of court when any federal agency becomes involved or starts a case or criminal investigation. For instance, conspiracy to commit mortgage fraud is also punishable by federal statutes. Related crimes can be prosecuted at both state and federal levels, meaning penalties may be twice as severe. They are not immune to double jeopardy. Hiring a qualified and experienced Tampa criminal lawyer who has successfully defended clients at the federal level will be your best move if you are concerned that you have committed mortgage fraud or if you’re facing federal mortgage fraud allegations.
Here is a short list of activity that may be investigated as mortgage fraud by the FBI:
- inflated appraisals with minimal documentation
- short Term Investments with Guaranteed Repurchase profits
- exclusive use of one appraiser intentionally
- purchase Loans Disguised as Refinance Loans
- purchase loans that have been disguised as refinances with no documentation
- bonuses that have been paid outside of at settlement for fee-based services
- broker or appraiser might receive higher than customary fees
- falsifications on Loan Applications
- buyers instructed how to falsify the mortgage application
- buyers requested to sign blank application
- fake Supporting Loan Documentation
- requests by the buyer to sign blank employee or bank forms
- buyer requested to sign other types of blank forms
- investors might who flip property prices for a fixed percentage
Are there any possible defenses?
Yes, the good news is that there are many possible defenses and mitigation strategies for individuals accused of committing mortgage fraud crimes. Your defense strategy will have to be created specifically for your unique case. This makes it hard to say which defenses will be best for you as an individual. Some individuals commit mortgage fraud accidentally while others have been falsely accused by companies trying to cover their own tracks. No matter what your situation may be, a qualified and experienced legal representative such as the ones at our firm will be able to help you sort out how to handle your case.
Let our dedicated criminal attorneys fight for you
Mortgage fraud cases can be complex in many different ways. This is true for any case that involves large companies, financial institutions,or government officials. If you believe that you may be accused of committing mortgage fraud crimes, seeking legal representation immediately is your best move. At Joffe Law, P.A., we have a knowledgeable and adept team of professional attorneys who can help you decide what your next move should be. Our Tampa attorneys specialize in all types of federal fraud cases understand that your case requires precision and attentiveness. they are ready to give you and your mortgage fraud case the attention and care that is necessary. If you are in Hillsborough County, Florida, or any of the surrounding areas and have been accused of mortgage fraud, Joffe Law, P.A. can take a close look at your case and help you decide how best to proceed.