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Multi-state mortgage fraud allegations lead to arrests

A pair was recently arrested and charged with federal white collar crimes that stretched from California to at least five other states. Investigators claim that their alleged multi-state mortgage fraud scheme stripped investors of funds totaling more than $45 million.

Mortgage fraud may involve a wide range of crimes, including reverse mortgage scams, house stealing, short sale schemes, loan fraud and more. The two men in this case have been formally charged with wire fraud and money laundering.

Wire fraud means that a suspect used the Internet, a phone or a fax machine to commit an offense. Meanwhile, money laundering means that a suspect took money as payment for a legitimate expense when the suspect knew the money had been gained illegally, and thereby covered up the illegal source. In this case, it likely means that investigators believe that the accused men laundered money using an electronic device.

The two defendants recently appeared before a federal court judge after a federal investigation involving the FBI, the IRS and other agencies. Investigators say the men defrauded hundreds of investors.

This case is one example of federal authorities' massive crackdown on fraud in the wake of the recent mortgage crisis. Individuals accused of crimes like wire fraud and money laundering -- which are among the typical charges filed in mortgage fraud cases - potentially face prison time and significant fines. These charges are used by prosecutors to bring a case into federal court, where penalties are harsher and the procedures are more rigid.

Because mortgage transactions are very complex, prosecutors need to be held accountable for every piece of evidence they offer in court. Investigations into federal crimes are often lengthy and complicated. It is important that those facing white collar crimes charges to assemble a defense that will be able to stack up against the efforts of the prosecution in order to ensure that the trial concludes in a just fashion.

Source: WRCB-TV News, "Suspects in multi-state mortgage fraud scheme charged," Gary Poole, May 10, 2012

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