If you have been charged with mortgage fraud, or you believe that you may have committed mortgage fraud, there are three different categories that you may fall into, depending on the crime you have committed. In Pennsylvania, it doesn’t matter whether you acted alone, or you were part of a greater scheme, there are strict and hasty punishments if you are convicted. It is essential that no matter what you do, you find experience legal representation right away. Criminal defense attorney in Delaware County, PA, Arik Benari, highlights the importance of working with an experienced team: “With the counsel and support of a defense lawyer who knows the law, understands prosecutorial strategies and has the resources to conduct independent forensic investigations on your behalf, you are in a better position to negotiate a plea bargain for reduced penalties or an alternative sentence.”
Going into an appointment with a criminal defense attorney, it is best to have some idea of that charges that you may be facing.
When facing mortgage fraud, there are three different types of fraud that someone could have performed. Note that some of these are obvious crimes that the person knew they were committing – but one, in particular, is a crime that many people commit without knowing. They are:
Fraud for Profit: This common type of fraud is also known as “Industry Insider Fraud.” It is also one of the costliest types of mortgage fraud committed in the United States and usually includes more than one party. In fact, it can include many people in a larger scheme – sometimes, it includes parties that do not know that they are part of the scheme but do know that they are committing a crime. However, it is likely that all will be charged to the same extent.
Most commonly, it includes people who work in the real estate industry: realtors, mortgage brokers, loan officers, and those who invest in real estate.
Fraud for Criminal Enterprise: This is the type of mortgage fraud typically committed by those who are involved in organized crime or criminal organizations. These groups buy real estate or properties using money that was not procured in legal ways – such as through drugs, stealing, blackmail, or some other form of criminal activity. Usually, there is one central person but many other small players that do some of the “dirty” work. In Pennsylvania, as little as two people can be involved in this type of mortgage fraud. Currently, the most common type of mortgage fraud for a criminal enterprise is to flip properties as a way to launder illegal funds.
Fraud for Housing: Far and away the most common type of mortgage fraud committed in the United States is Fraud for Housing, also known as Fraud for Property. This crime isn’t one that many people believe to be serious when they are committing it, but it is highly serious. While it is traditionally a single act crime, it is becoming so popular that some people have committed it more than once. To commit this crime, one has to borrow false information or create fake documents. Falsifying information to grain a property or housing, such as assets, income, or employment, is a federal offense. If you believe that you fall under this category and you have not be charged, you can contact a defense lawyer to see how to proceed so that you can right the wrong. If you don’t, some people have spent upwards of four years in prison.
Note that this type of fraud is not always intentional and can sometimes even be made in mistake. If you feel as though you may have committed an accidental fraud for housing crime, it is best to consult with a professional as soon as you possibly can. The more you delay, the more likely it is that you will be found guilty.
Mortgage fraud is a serious crime that you need to know about, even if you don’t think you are committing a crime. If you are in the process of buying a home or securing a mortgage, you have to be careful about each step that you take. The lasting effects of mortgage fraud can absolutely devastate not on your finances, but your family and your reputation for years to come. Seek out an experienced, expert criminal defense lawyer who can help you to take the right steps to rectify the situation. Most lawyers offer private consultations so that you don’t have to worry about reaching out for help.