Appraisal fraud is a form of mortgage fraud. It’s a situation where the appraisal is done inaccurately, and doesn’t reflect true market value of the home. If you’re accused of engaging in appraisal fraud, you could be punished under federal sentencing guidelines. Appraisal fraud occurs, as a part of a fraud scheme. Numerous people in the chain could be punished – including homeowners, mortgage brokers, realtors, etc, anyone who participated in the fraud scheme, by editing or altering the appraisal.
Appraisal fraud is a problem because it can result in improperly obtained funds from a bank. When a lending institution is defrauded, it doesn’t just end with the appraisal fraud. You could be charged with a dozen other crimes as well, such as mail and wire fraud. In addition, every instance of the fraud is a different charge!
If you’re facing such charges, don’t do it alone. Spodek Law Group, PC, can help. Our appraisal fraud lawyers can help.
Appraisals are supposed to be legitimate assessments of the market value of your home. In some cases, an appraiser will misstate the value of the home on purpose.
1. Appraiser inflated the price, and appraised house for more than it’s worth in order to get a price above market value. This was done to help homeowners refinance the property, or secure a home equity loan.
2. Appraiser participated in a builder bailout scheme. Appraising house for more than its worth, so a builder can refinance or renew a line of credit. Builder bailouts can also involve a straw buyer, whose purchasing the home from the builder at an inflated price, in order to make the builder appear more profitable to the lender.
3. Appraiser is understating value of home. This is done as a part of short sale fraud, and real estate fraud releated to improper flipping of the house. Appraiser claims house is worthless, and sells it a low rate to a buyer. The bank takes a bigger loss on the short sell. The home is taken, and then resold by the buyer at a larger profit.
Appraisers must certify that their appraisers are accurate. Any appraiser who participates in any fraud scheme can be charged with all underlying offenses committed by co-conspirators. This means you could be in for osme trouble – even if you didn’t apply for the fraudelent mortgage yourself. As long as you helped a co-conspirator, you can get sued as well – criminally, and civilly.
Penalties for this form of fraud can be loss of licenses, and being barred from future appraisals. In addition you can be sued civilly. Any money you made – might need to be given up as well. In addition to civil penalties, there is a possibility of FEDERAL and STATE criminal charges.
Under US CODE Section 1344, there is a clause for a penalty up to 30 years, and $1 million fine. Postal and wire fraud carries a federal offense of 30 year penalty, and a $1 million fine.
If you’re charged, contact our NYC appraisal fraud lawyers. We’re available 24/7 to help you.
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