While there is no federal statute that references “mortgage fraud” directly, recent news articles abound on the subject. In four separate cases in South Florida, the U.S. Attorney accuses 27 of mortgage fraud, according to an August 4th article posted on LoanSafe.org. On the same day, an Arizona builder pleads guilty to mortgage fraud, according to KTAR.com and fox news cited that 14 have been charged in a $60 Million mortgage fraud scheme. The list goes on…
Cases involving “mortgage fraud” are typically prosecuted under existing federal statutes involving conspiracy, wire fraud, bank fraud, false statements to an FDIC-Insured Bank and others. Ancillary offenses, including tax fraud and bankruptcy fraud can also be charged following a “mortgage fraud” investigation. Depending on the number of properties involved and the dollar amount of the loss, penalties vary widely and can involve real estate agents, mortgage brokers, real estate attorneys, title closers, appraisers, and straw buyers. Some of the schemes in the news are fairly elaborate, involving fraudulent mortgage applications, fake W-2s and tax stubs, fraudulent short sells and even arson and insurance fraud.
Sometimes innocent consumers unknowingly fall victim to unscrupulous real estate agents, bankers and brokers and may find that they are under investigation by the government for “mortgage fraud”. When this happens, it is critical to contact an experienced federal criminal defense attorney before speaking to the government.
If the FBI contacts you and they want to speak with you about your mortgage, the first order of business is to contact a Tampa Criminal Defense Lawyer . One that is experienced and Board Certified is even better. Speaking with the government about mortgage fraud before contacting a criminal defense lawyer is not in your best interest.
The government could be investigating you due to the real estate boom of the early 2000′s. Tampa Criminal Defense Lawyer, Lori D. Palmieri explains that,
“Although most people applied for mortgages completely and truthfully, some individuals were mislead by unscrupulous brokers. Some brokers falsified paperwork in order to expedite the loan approval.”
Many clients admit to not reading all of the documents that they signed at closing. Unfortunately, unscrupulous parties can take advantage of this and add, remove or falsify certain documents.
The most important thing you can do when in a mortgage fraud situation is to contact a Tampa Criminal Defense Attorney before speaking to anyone. It is completely acceptable to tell the government that you would like to wait until your attorney is present before making any statements.