Mortgage fraud is one of those crimes that some people commit without understanding the magnitude of their actions. It can happen in one critical moment as you make a decision that will later come back to haunt you. This is also a crime that is often committed knowingly by real estate investors, appraisers and professionals working for credit unions, banks and other financial institutions. The laws are complex and the charges carry serious penalties, so representation from an experienced mortgage fraud lawyer is critical for those accused
What Is Mortgage Fraud?
The FBI defines mortgage fraud as a subcategory of Financial Institution Fraud that involves “material misstatement, misrepresentation, or omission in relation to a mortgage loan.” There are many different crimes that can fall under the mortgage fraud umbrella, ranging from simple lies or omissions on a mortgage loan application to elaborate schemes that involve participation from multiple people.
There are three main categories of mortgage fraud currently recognized in the United States:
Criminal Charges & Penalties for Mortgage Fraud
There are currently no federal statutes specifically for crimes of mortgage fraud. Prosecutors can select from a variety of related statutes when charging someone believed to have committed this type of crime. This list will introduce you to the most commonly used statutes as described by the Department of Justice.
Once charged with some form of mortgage fraud, you’re likely to receive additional charges that relate to the manner in which you carried out the alleged crime. This may include identity theft, giving false statements to a government agency or agent, or the use of a false social security number. There are some factors of the alleged crime that may allow the judge to give you a longer prison sentence.
Serious Charges Require Serious Legal Representation
As you can tell from the list of potential charges above, mortgage fraud is complex. It takes lawyers years of education, research, and experience to fully understand the many layers of a criminal trial for this type of offense, and the depth of the charges often overwhelm defendants with no legal training.
This is why it’s so important to seek legal representation the moment you’ve been charged or you suspect that charges are soon to come. A skilled lawyer will have a deep understanding of the charges and the nature of mortgage fraud crimes in general. They can help you present your case in court with the best chances of winning an acquittal.
There is never a guarantee that you will win any criminal case, but you put the odds more in your favor by selecting a passionate, experienced attorney. Mortgage fraud comes with substantial financial penalties and may put you behind bars for up to 30 years, so the investment in a solid defense is essential.
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