Mortgage fraud has become increasingly common. The moment you obtain a mortgage through an application that contains false claims, you have committed mortgage fraud. False claims could be in form of misrepresentation of your income or finances, non-disclosure of your financial obligations like credit cards or loans. By committing mortgage fraud, you will not only be committing a crime but also jeopardizing your home. When you find yourself in such a predicament, you will need to find proper representation which is finding a good mortgage fraud lawyer.
Why People Commit Mortgage Fraud
It is difficult for people to obtain mortgages today because of the numerous restrictions that they encounter from mortgage lenders. Their borrowing criterion has stiff rules that not everybody is able to comply with. Due to these complicated regulations, most people who wish to buy homes are desperate to get approved and end up feeding the lenders with false information. Approximately 4 out of every 1000 mortgages are fraudulent.
The Types of Mortgage Fraud Committed by People
There are different ways through which people commit mortgage fraud, but there are ways that are common. Lying about their income accounts for 25% of mortgage fraud. Another form of mortgage fraud that is common is when people hide their credit history. Around 20% of mortgage fraud results from those who lie about their status of employment. Other people commit mortgage fraud by failing to disclose the true purpose of the property. For example, they tell the lender that they are buying the house for them to live in but in real sense, they are buying it to let. This move is intended to avoid the higher mortgage rates that are placed on buy-to-let properties.
Organized Crime and Mortgage Fraud
While mortgage fraud may seem like a mild crime, organized crime groups have taken quite an interest in it. What they do is that they use it to cover up their illegal activities such as the business of selling drugs. They accomplish this by overvaluing commercial properties through fraudulent leases or through forged documentation.
Mortgage Fraud Detection
You may think that you have gotten away with mortgage fraud but this may not be the case. There are some red flags that may arise and cause lenders to suspect your activities. Suspicious activities revolving around mortgages could arise when a third party pays the deposit, there is a significant increase of the purchase price, another party different from the seller receiving the sales proceeds, through sales of the same property or remortgages. You may also be caught through the normal checks conducted by sellers.
Penalties for Mortgage Fraud
Mortgage fraud is a federal crime, but the penalties for the crime vary from state to state. In Georgia, the penalty is incarceration for up to 1 to 10 years and a fine of up to $5000 while in California the penalty is incarceration for up to a year in a county jail or state prison. A significant penalty addition is placed on mortgage lenders, appraisers or real estate agents who are found committing the crime. This is in form of revoking their right to practice and license, permanently. In cases where a lot of money is involved or when victims lose money; the cases may be federally prosecuted resulting to penalties of incarceration for up to 30 years and fines of up to $1 million.
Defence against Mortgage Fraud
If you are being investigated for the crime of mortgage fraud, you need proper representation. This is a serious crime and you need to treat it with extreme attention to detail. Good mortgage lawyers will represent you so well and that is exactly what you need. Do not wait until you are charged to start looking for a lawyer. You should do that at the onset of the investigation. You need to choose an attorney who has a lot of experience in federal courts and can easily gain access to skilled investigators and financial specialists. A lawyer who is experienced in dealing with white collar crimes will build the best possible defence for you. Reach out to the best mortgage fraud lawyer.