Mortgage Fraud: Challenging Charges and Building Effective Defenses

By Brock Benjamin
Founding Attorney

Facing mortgage fraud charges is an incredibly frightening and daunting experience, with the potential for severe penalties in the form of hefty fines, restitution, and even considerable jail time. However, under the guidance of a skilled and seasoned mortgage fraud defense attorney, there are ways to challenge mortgage fraud charges and build an effective defense. If you or a loved one are facing mortgage fraud charges in Texas or New Mexico, it’s vital that you seek representation from an experienced mortgage fraud defense attorney as quickly as possible. The Benjamin Law Firm understands the intricacies of mortgage fraud and will fight tirelessly to mitigate the impact of these charges and to reach the best possible outcome.

Understanding Mortgage Fraud

Mortgage fraud encompasses a wide range of deceptive practices, usually involving an individual or business falsifying mortgage documents with the intent to mislead, deceive, or defraud a lending institution. Most lending institutions are federally insured, so mortgage fraud charges are usually brought in federal court, but there are cases where such charges are brought in state court. 

The penalties for mortgage fraud escalate depending on the financial value of the alleged fraud, ranging from small fines and probation to hefty fines and decades behind bars. Defendants may be prosecuted for more than the actual loss incurred through the mortgage fraud. They may also face penalties for the total intended loss. Because it is difficult to ascertain how much loss was intended in the fraud, prosecutors may attempt to inflate the intended loss to secure higher penalties, so having an experienced and aggressive mortgage fraud defense attorney is critical.

Challenging Mortgage Fraud Charges: Effective Defenses

Challenging mortgage fraud charges from the start is essential to protect your rights and reputation. In order to successfully challenge mortgage fraud charges, you need an experienced attorney with extensive knowledge in the field of mortgage fraud defense who can conduct a meticulous examination of the evidence against you and tailor a defense strategy to your unique circumstances, needs, and goals. 

  1. Showing a Lack of Intent, Knowledge, or Honest Mistake: To secure a conviction for mortgage fraud, the prosecution must show that the defendant knowingly and intentionally made a false statement. If the accused did not have the intent to defraud, didn’t know they were committing fraud, didn’t notice a discrepancy, or if the fraud was the result of an honest mistake, this may serve as a formidable defense strategy.
  1. Emphasizing Lack of Materiality: The prosecution needs to not only show that the accused intended to make a false statement, but also that the false statement was material, or important. If the inaccuracy or omission was minor and didn’t significantly impact the lender’s decision or the transaction as a whole, it’s difficult for that conduct to rise to the level of fraud. Emphasizing that the misrepresentation was minor, inconsequential, and immaterial is a strong defense. 
  1. Demonstrating Coercion: Under certain circumstances, individuals may become inadvertently and unknowingly involved in mortgage fraud due to coercion. Showing that the accused was pressured or tricked into committing fraud can be a powerful defense.
  1. Establishing Lack of Financial Benefit: To make a successful case for mortgage fraud, the prosecution often relies on the fact that the accused gained a financial benefit by committing the fraudulent act. Showing that there was no financial gain on the part of the accused doesn’t necessarily disprove the crime but can be a compelling defense. If the defense can show that the accused did not stand to profit from the fraud and that any financial benefits were unintended, it’s harder for the prosecution to make a successful case for mortgage fraud.
  1. Proving the Lender is Outside the Scope of Mortgage Fraud Statutes: In order to secure a conviction for mortgage fraud, the prosecutor must show that the defendant knowingly made a false statement to an entity that is covered by a state or federal mortgage fraud statute. However, not every entity is covered by these statutes. By meticulously examining these statutes, an experienced defense attorney may be able to make a case that the lender does not qualify for legal protection under the mortgage fraud statutes on the state or federal level. 
  1. Challenging the Lender’s Practices: While the lender is usually the victim of mortgage fraud, they may have contributed to the fraud by their own conduct. By showing questionable practices on the part of the lender, such as inadequate verification procedures or a failure to conduct due diligence, the accused party can show that they’re not solely responsible for the alleged fraud.
  1. Arguing the Statute of Limitations Has Lapsed: Mortgage fraud charges, like any criminal case, are subject to a statute of limitations. If the alleged fraud occurred outside the specified timeframe, the defense may have a strong case for a dismissal of the charges.
  1. Exposing the Prosecution’s Weak Evidence: If the prosecution does not have enough evidence to back up these charges, they cannot secure a conviction. A critical component of any effective defense strategy involves pointing out weaknesses in the prosecution’s evidence and presenting contrary evidence. An experienced defense attorney can identify inconsistencies, errors, and a general lack of credibility, avenues for a dismissal, or an acquittal.
  1. Taking Advantage of Procedural Issues: A key method to weaken the prosecution’s case is to show that the evidence they are relying on is inadmissible. If law enforcement fails to follow proper procedure, violates the accused’s constitutional rights, mishandles evidence, or obtains evidence unlawfully, that evidence can be suppressed. Suppressing vital evidence can significantly weaken the prosecutor’s case, giving the defense a leg up, and can even lead to a dismissal of charges on procedural grounds.
  1. Negotiating a Plea Bargain: When all else fails, cooperation can go a long way in mitigating the impact of mortgage fraud charges, and a plea bargain may be a strategic move. By agreeing to cooperate with the prosecution, a skilled attorney can help reach a favorable plea bargain that reduces the penalties and long-term consequences of the charges. 

El Paso Mortgage Fraud Defense Attorney

If you or a loved one are facing mortgage fraud charges in Texas or New Mexico, you need aggressive representation from a leader in the field of fraud defense. A mortgage fraud conviction has consequences that could follow you for a lifetime, including large fines, restitution, and significant jail time. You need an advocate who will fight aggressively for you, your reputation, your future, and your freedom, and time is of the essence.

The Benjamin Law Firm is based in El Paso and proudly serves clients across Texas and New Mexico. Our practice offers comprehensive civil litigation, aviation law, and criminal defense services, with a specific focus on fraud defense, backed by nearly two decades of experience. What sets us apart is the level of expertise that founding attorney Brock Morgan Benjamin brings to mortgage fraud cases. Attorney Benjamin is one of few attorneys who is Board Certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, making him a true expert in criminal law. Additionally, as a former prosecutor, Attorney Benjamin leverages his extensive experience on both sides of the courtroom, using his insider knowledge of the strategies and tactics that prosecutors rely on to zealously and relentlessly defend his clients.

Contact us or call us at (915)-221-7462 today so we can mitigate the charges’ impact and help you reach the best possible outcome. We’re ready to start fighting for you today. ¡También podemos ayudarte en español!

About the Author
Brock Benjamin is board-certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.  His practice is primarily state and federal criminal law and appeals.Brock 

Posted in: White Collar Crimes