Everyone knows what a title is. The owner of a property has a title to the property in his, or her name. Title fraud means interfering in a way that results in the title of the property improperly changing from one owner to another. The change is done, by someone who doesn’t have the authority to change the owner of the property. Participating in any type of title fraud can result in criminal charges at either a state, or federal level. Raiser & Kenniff, PC’s team of title fraud lawyers can help you regardless of the complexity of the case. Our real estate fraud lawyers know all the possible options when it comes to defenses – we understand the complexity of the laws as they pertain to title fraud and title scams.
Title fraud involves improperly taking the title to a property. This is done by convincing the rightful owner to sign a title based on false promises or by impersonating the true owner of the property. After the identity of the property owner is stolen, the property is sold to another party. Multiple parties suffer financial losses in this type of situation. Regardless of the manner in which the title fraud took place, federal charges of numerous forms can be made, including bank fraud. This is in addition to mail and wire fraud charges, which can apply.
This is another type of crime related to title fraud. Title insurance is something which is purchased as a part of a real estate transaction. Title searches are done to ensure a seller has a legitimate and clean title. The title insurance company insures the transaction. The buyer is protected from any financial losses if it turns out there are issues with the title. The insurance company pays for the damages which arise. Title insurance can fraud occur in many forms, including misappropriating the title insurance premium without issuing a title policy, or intentionally misrepresenting title defects so the underwriter gets stuck with the losses.
Many laws and regulations exist to prevent title insurance fraud, including two model acts by the NAIC – Model Law 230, and 628. Model laws have not yet been widely implemented, many states have variations of the Model laws, which regulate title insurance companies.
Penalties vary depending on whether the fraud done impacted a financial institution, a title company, an individual or a business. Under New York state law, defendants can be charged with insurance fraud in 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, or 5th, degree. Defendants can also be charged with state level offenses, including aggravated insurance fraud, residential mortgage fraud, criminal impersonation in 1st or 2nd degree, a 1st or 2nd degree charge of defrauding, or a 1st, 2nd, 3rd, degree identity theft + aggravated identity theft.
Federal charges can be different. Defendants can be indicted for bank fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy, and many other criminal charges. Bank and wire fraud can carry potential penalties of up to 30 years in prison, or a $1 million fine if a financial institution is impacted.
Regardless of what type of title fraud you’re accused of doing, you need to understand your rights. Raiser & Kenniff, PC, will help you. We can try to get the case thrown out, or negotiate a plea agreement which lessens the penalties associated with your case. Bottom line, our NYC criminal attorneys will do the best possible thing for you.
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