It’s virtually every American’s dream to own a home at some point in their lives. It represents the fact that you’ve made it, that you’ve accomplished something noteworthy and significant. But the pursuit of that goal can also cause some people to cut corners and tell lies to make their dream become a reality.
As real estate continues to be a big ticket item that seems to keep getting even more challenging, sometimes people resort to mortgage fraud as a means to an end. Mortgage fraud includes various types of misrepresentation or lying on various mortgage documents. This might mean submitting a fake W-2 form, lying on the amount of income and assets you have available or creating an inflated property appraisal, among many other types of fraudulent activities.
In 2009, the federal government enacted the Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act (FERA) that significantly expanded the enforcement of mortgage fraud laws. Without the assistance of a skilled mortgage fraud lawyer, defendants can be subject to prison sentences ranging to 30 years and fines of up to $1 million.
Because so many people are involved in the sale and purchase of a property, the opportunity to commit mortgage fraud can take many types of forms. Mortgage brokers, real estate attorneys, appraisers, real estate agents, bankers, and even home buyers can be tempted to commit mortgage fraud at any one of the numerous steps involved in a real estate transaction.
Common types of mortgage fraud can include property flipping at an inflated value, fraudulent loan documentation, identity theft, equity skimming, inflated appraisals, the execution of a silent second mortgage, and the use of straw buyers, to name a few.
In addition to criminal penalties, defendants may also be held accountable for civil penalties as well. For example, if a bank sustains a loss due to mortgage fraud, the defendant may be required to pay restitution to the bank for their illicit activities.
Cates & Garvey Law Group proudly serves clients in Phoenix, Tempe, Glendale, Scottsdale, Mesa and surrounding Arizona communities