Mortgage fraud is a federal crime that has been increasing. It threatens homeowners, businesses, and as a result, the national economy. The 2007 collapse of the subprime mortgage market, for example, is partly to blame for today’s current financial crisis.
Perhaps, through no fault of your own, you are being accused of mortgage fraud. This is a serious, federal crime investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Your unfamiliarity with the illegal practices of scam artists in the mortgage fraud arena can make you a target of these scammers.
Being investigated by the FBI is a serious matter. If you’re arrested and charged for committing mortgage fraud, or if you are suspected of mortgage fraud, you will need to talk to a criminal defense attorney who has experienced in these specific matters as soon as possible.
Federal crimes attorney David M. Dudley has the experience and the resources you need. He has an almost unparalleled degree of experience defending individuals accused of federal crimes. For your best chances of getting your charges reduced or dropped, contact Mr. Dudley today.
FBI Cracks Down on Mortgage Fraud
Because of the nation’s housing and economic crises, mortgage foreclosures and delinquencies have soared during the last few years. These have led to more scams targeting distressed homeowners. As a result, the FBI has increased its surveillance and advanced its investigative techniques for uncovering mortgage fraud. The FBI does not mess around; the penalties for mortgage fraud are severe.
The FBI lists the following as examples of areas in which mortgage fraud flourish. You may be accused of perpetrating some of the following:
- Foreclosure rescue schemes
- Loan modification scams
- Illegal property flipping
- Builder bailout/condo conversion
- Equity skimming
- Silent second
- Home equity conversion mortgage
- commercial real estate loans
- Air loans
The Bureau investigates two kinds of mortgage fraud, fraud for profit and fraud for housing.
Who Perpetrates Fraud for Profit?
Perpetrators of fraud for profit are “often industry insiders using their specialized knowledge or authority to commit or facilitate the fraud.” These include:
- Bank officers
- Mortgage brokers
- Loan originators
Fraud for housing refers to some kind of illegal action when the borrower wants to buy a home misrepresents income or assets on a loan application.
Called Operation Stolen Dreams, the biggest mortgage fraud investigation in 2010, led to the conviction of 1,082 perpetrators of mortgage fraud. In the fiscal year 2011, there were $1.38 billion in restitution, $116.3 million in fines, $15.7 million in seizures and $7.33 million in forfeitures.
If your mortgage has left you in debt you may be scrutinized for illegal activities. When applying for a mortgage:
- Be wary of e-mails or web-based advertisements that promise to eliminate your debt and wanting an up-front fee.
- Do not pay in advance for promised services
- Watch out for offers to “save” homeowners at risk of defaulting or who are already in foreclosure.
- Seek a qualified credit counselor or attorney for help.
Mortgage fraud is a serious criminal matter. Don’t take chances with your future; contact criminal defense attorney Mr. Dudley for qualified defense representation today.
White Collar Crimes: Selected Case Results
- U.S. v. M.T.: The federal government charged the defendant with organizing a $1,000.000 mortgage fraud scheme. Before the government indicted the defendant for running another $4,000,000 real estate fraud scheme, Attorney Dudley reached a deal with the federal prosecutor pursuant to which the defendant admitted his involvement in the first scheme in exchange for a prosecutorial decision not to name him in the second. At sentencing, the defendant, who had a substantial criminal record, received a sentence of just 41 months.
- Investigation of N.M.: Federal law-enforcement agents targeted N.M., a real estate investor, for millions of dollars in real estate fraud. Over several years, N.M. was represented by Attorney Dudley. Federal authorities were able to bring NO CHARGES against N.M.
- U.S. v. D.M.: Accused of federal defense contract procurement fraud, the defendant was convicted at trial of all counts. Retained for the purpose of sentencing and appeal, Attorney Dudley argued that the loss figures reached by the government and the PSR were speculative. The district court disagreed and sentenced the defendant to over five years in prison. The court of appeals accepted the defense argument and REVERSED the trial court’s sentencing decision. As a result of that reversal, the government and the defense reached an agreement that reduced the defendant’s sentence by almost two years.
- U.S. v. T.S.: The defendant was indicted for over $6,000,000 in bank fraud in three jurisdictions: the District of Minnesota, the District of West Virginia, and the Central District of California. After extended negotiations, the defendant, who was looking at 20 to 30 years in federal custody, received a sentence of fewer than eight years.
- P. v. H.W.: The defendant, who owned an insurance agency and the office building from which the agency did business, was accused of attempting to bribe a city official to avoid having to spend money for substantial construction necessary to place the building in compliance with city codes. After the defense presented its claim at a preliminary hearing that the prosecution could not prove that the object which the defendant allegedly offered to the public officer had any market value, the district attorney agreed to DISMISS all felony charges.