Lenders, borrowers, investors, or other parties may be charged with fraud for various dishonest statements or actions during the mortgage lending process. Because instances of this particular type of white-collar crime have dramatically increased in recent years, the state of Florida has more aggressively investigated and prosecuted alleged offenders in these cases.
People facing these charges not only face lengthy terms of incarceration, but also several thousands of dollars in fines. Additionally, alleged offenders can be ordered to pay restitution that may be hundreds of thousands of dollars.
West Palm Beach Mortgage Fraud Lawyer
If you are under investigation for or have been charged with any kind of fraud relating to the mortgage lending process, having knowledgeable legal representation can help you achieve the most favorable possible outcome to your case. Meltzer & Bell, P.A. works tirelessly to get these charges reduced or dismissed for people in Wellington, Royal Palm Beach, Riviera Beach, Palm Beach Gardens, Lake Worth, as well as other surrounding communities.
Our Palm Beach County mortgage fraud attorneys have experience on both sides of the aisle, so we not only understand the legal strategies of prosecutors but the best ways to attack them as well. You can have our firm review your own case by calling (561) 557-8686 today to schedule a free, confidential consultation.
Florida Mortgage Fraud Information Center
- How might a person be charged with this crime?
- What are some of the schemes that most frequently result in these charges?
- How are alleged offenders punished if they are convicted?
Under Florida Statute § 817.545, the term mortgage lending process is defined as the process through which a person seeks or obtains a residential mortgage loan. This includes, but is not limited to, the solicitation, application or origination, negotiation of terms, third-party provider services, underwriting, signing and closing, and funding of the loan.
Documents that may be involved in the mortgage lending process include, but are not limited to:
- Inspection reports
- Uniform residential loan applications
- Other loan applications
- Appraisal reports
- HUD-1 settlement statements
- Supporting personal documentation for loan applications such as W-2 forms, verifications of income and employment, credit reports, bank statements, tax returns, and payroll stubs
- Any required disclosures
Specific examples of the offense listed under the statute include an alleged offender knowingly and with the intent to defraud doing any of the following:
- Making any material misstatement, misrepresentation, or omission during the mortgage lending process with the intention that it will be relied on by a mortgage lender, borrower, or any other person or entity involved in the mortgage lending process.
- Using or facilitating the use of any material misstatement, misrepresentation, or omission during the mortgage lending process with the intention that it will be relied on by a mortgage lender, borrower, or any other person or entity involved in the mortgage lending process.
- Receiving any proceeds or any other funds in connection with the mortgage lending process that the alleged offender knew resulted from one of the violations listed above.
- Filing or causing to be filed with the clerk of the circuit court for any Florida county a document involved in the mortgage lending process which contains a material misstatement, misrepresentation, or omission.
It should be noted that omissions on a loan application regarding employment, income, or assets for a loan which does not require this information are not considered material omissions.
There are several different kinds of mortgage or real estate fraud schemes that result in these criminal charges. Some of the most common alleged plots include, but are not limited to:
- Affinity Fraud
- Air Loans
- Appraisal Fraud
- Employment Fraud
- Equity Skimming
- Equity Theft
- Fictitious or Stolen Identities
- Foreclosure Schemes
- Fraud for Profit
- Hiding Liabilities
- Income Fraud
- Inflated Appraisals
- Misrepresented Assets
- Misrepresented Income
- Nominee Loans
- Occupancy Fraud
- Property Flipping
- Silent Second
- Stated Income/Stated Asset Abuse
- Straw buyers
A person who commits any of the examples of mortgage lending process fraud listed can be charged with a third-degree felony. However, if the loan value stated on documents used in the mortgage lending process exceeds $100,000, then this can be a second-degree felony.
If convicted, an alleged offender faces the following possible sentences:
- Third-Degree Felony — Up to five years in prison and $5,000 maximum fine
- Second-Degree Felony — Up to 15 years in prison and $10,000 maximum fine
Additionally, a person convicted of this offense could also be ordered to pay restitution to the alleged victims.
Find a Mortgage Fraud Lawyer in Palm Beach County
Have you been charged with or are you being investigated for alleged fraud in the mortgage lending process? You should immediately get yourself legal counsel who will fight to protect your rights.
Meltzer & Bell, P.A. represents clients in Jupiter, Greenacres, Delray Beach, Boynton Beach, Boca Raton, and many other areas of South Florida. Our West Palm Beach mortgage fraud attorneys will provide a thorough evaluation of your case when you call (561) 557-8686 right now to set up a free, no obligation consultation.