Mortgage fraud is an incredibly serious criminal charge that can be brought at either the state or federal level. If convicted, an offender may face significant fines, restitution, and a lengthy prison sentence. If you or a loved one are facing mortgage fraud charges in Texas, it’s crucial that you contact an experienced Texas mortgage fraud defense lawyer.
Mortgage fraud occurs when an individual or business uses false information on mortgage documents with the intention of defrauding a lending institution. Because many lending institutions are federally insured, these charges are typically brought in federal court, but they may also be brought at the state level. Other charges may accompany mortgage fraud charges, such as mail fraud and wire fraud.
Mortgage fraud can be committed by an individual, a business, or a collaboration of individuals such as mortgage brokers, investors, appraisers, and title insurance companies. Mortgage fraud can either be a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the amount of money involved. Similarly, the penalties increase in severity depending on the dollar value of the fraud in question, and can range from small fines and probation to fines of up to $10,000 and up to 99 years in prison.
Types of Mortgage Fraud
Mortgage fraud can occur in many different forms, including:
- Providing inaccurate financial information on a mortgage application.
- Completing a mortgage application with false or forged identification, which is a form of identity theft.
- Providing the lending institution with falsified or forged documents in support of the mortgage, specifically financial documents.
- Inflating the property’s appraisal to increase resale profits.
- Using a “straw buyer” to qualify for a loan, and subsequently “flipping” the property.
- “Equity skimming”, or taking out a mortgage loan, renting out the property, and not repaying the loan until the property goes into foreclosure.
- Fraud committed to avoid a property’s foreclosure.
- Intentional failure to disclose residential information.
- Fraudulent down payments.
- Selling a property twice and collecting profits from two distinct buyers, also known as “double selling”.
- Using multiple holding companies to inflate a property’s value.
- Using money from a second mortgage to make a down payment on a first mortgage.
- Failure to disclose a primary residence.
- Departures from the standard underwriting principles.
- Embezzlement of escrow funds.
- Reporting fictitious or subpar home improvements made on the property.
- Owners or brokers receiving kickbacks.
How Can an Experienced Mortgage Fraud Attorney Help?
Mortgage fraud charges can lead to extremely harsh penalties. Defendants may be prosecuted on the actual loss incurred through the mortgage fraud as well as the intended loss. Because it is hard to concretely establish how much loss was intended, prosecutors will work hard to inflate the intended loss to the highest amount possible to secure higher penalties for the defendant. It is critical to have an attorney to mitigate the charges and fight for the best possible outcome.
The cornerstone of mortgage fraud cases requires that the prosecution prove that the defendant knowingly made a false statement to an entity that is covered by the applicable state or federal mortgage fraud statute. There are a few common, effective defenses specific to mortgage fraud cases. Your mortgage fraud defense attorney will evaluate the case and will help you ascertain which option would be most effective given your unique circumstances.
Firstly, your attorney may argue that the statement made was not false in the first place. Secondly, that the statement was false but the defendant was mistaken, didn’t know the information was false, or didn’t intend to convey false information. Lastly, your attorney may be able to show that the institution in question isn’t covered by the applicable mortgage fraud statutes.
While these defenses are the most common, these certainly aren’t the only avenues that can be explored. For a conviction in any criminal case, the prosecutor bears the burden of proving to a judge or jury that the defendant committed the crime in question beyond a reasonable doubt. An experienced mortgage fraud defense attorney can weaken the prosecution’s case and leave room for doubt.
Experienced El Paso Mortgage Fraud Lawyer
If you or a loved one are facing mortgage fraud charges in Texas, turned to a skilled Texas fraud defense attorney as soon as possible. A mortgage fraud conviction can have catastrophic consequences, including hefty fines, restitution, and the potential for significant jail time. You need an advocate who will fight tirelessly for you, your future, and your freedom.
El Paso’s Benjamin Law Firm offers comprehensive criminal defense services with a special focus on fraud defense, along with civil litigation and aviation law services. We have decades of experience in the field and a proven track record of results for clients across the state of Texas.
Founding Attorney Benjamin is one of few attorneys who truly specializes in criminal defense. While many attorneys may have experience in criminal defense, few are Board Certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization like Attorney Benjamin. As a former prosecutor, Attorney Benjamin also understands the tactics and strategies that prosecutors rely on to secure convictions. He uses this knowledge to mount the most effective defense for each and every client that trusts the Benjamin Law Firm with their case.
Contact us or call us at (915)-221-7462 so we can get started fighting for you, your future, and your freedom. ¡También hablamos español!
Posted in: Mortgage Fraud