Federal Mortgage Fraud Prosecutions Have Intensified In Recent Years
Federal mortgage fraud prosecutions are continuing to intensify as investigative techniques, including collaboration with local law enforcement entities are becoming more sophisticated. Unfortunately, innocent parties are sometimes implicated.
In the aftermath of the subprime mortgage scandal federal investigators continue to ramp up efforts to investigate and prosecute individuals engaging in financial real estate fraud. According to Mortgage Daily, federal investigators have prosecuted over 2,700 mortgage fraud cases in the past three years.
If you believe you are being investigated or have been charged with mortgage fraud, it is critical you retain an experienced mortgage fraud attorney immediately who can help you prepare an effective mortgage fraud defense. It is almost always advisable to retain counsel prior to determining whether you should discuss your case with law enforcement officials. Experienced federal criminal defense counsel will help you develop important facts concerning your case and determine what your true status is with federal mortgage fraud investigators and Assistant United States Attorneys prosecuting those cases.
The Expanding Field of Mortgage Fraud
There are many different types of mortgage fraud. The most common forms involve falsifying financial information on loan documents to obtain loan approval for unqualified applicants or falsifying details about the property itself to create an inflated valuation for the lender. These are not the only types of mortgage fraud. Mortgage fraud may also include:
- Equity skimming
- Home equity conversion/reverse mortgages
- Loan modification schemes
- Foreclosure prevention/avoidance schemes
- Illegal property flipping
- Air loans
- Commercial real estate loans
- Silent second mortgages
- House stealing
What all of these mortgage schemes have in common is that they utilize some sort of misrepresentation, omission or misstatement regarding the real estate, applicant or the source of funds that is relied upon by a party to the transaction.
Building a Defense Against Mortgage Fraud Allegations
Federal investigators often assume that a party to the transaction had some sort of knowledge of what was going on and bad intent. Often this is not the case. However, defending yourself can prove difficult in light of enormous government resources.
An effective mortgage fraud defense may require an experienced federal criminal defense lawyer who can utilize the skills of a team of experts, including appraisers, forensic accountants, underwriters and investigators to construct a defense by exposing deficiencies in the prosecution's case.
If you are being investigated or have already been indicted on mortgage fraud charges, your future may depend not only on when you retain counsel, but whom you choose. It is important you hire an attorney who understands the legal complexities of mortgage fraud cases.