The federal government takes financial fraud very seriously. Individuals suspected of financial crimes such as fraud or embezzlement often face long and invasive federal investigations, as well as aggressive federal prosecutions. Furthermore, while penalties for financial crimes vary dramatically depending on a variety of factors, federal charges for white collar crimes can carry long prison sentences and hefty fines.
Federal agents recently arrested a group of individuals from Southern California for allegedly participating in a fraudulent loan modification program. In a federal indictment unsealed on December 3, the defendants are accused of defrauding more than 1,800 homeowners out of about $12 million in fees. The FBI and IRS Criminal Investigation Unit conducted the federal investigation into the operation.
According to authorities, over a nine-month period beginning in 2008, the defendants made false promises to financially distressed homeowners that they could secure mortgage loan modifications and that a "team of attorneys" would be representing them in the negotiations. According to the indictment, after a fee was paid by the homeowners, little to nothing was done to obtain the actual modifications.
All three of the defendants are charged with multiple federal offenses, including conspiracy and nine counts of wire fraud. Under the federal sentencing guidelines, each of these counts can carry a maximum criminal penalty of up to 20 years in prison. One of the men is also charged with 13 counts of criminal contempt of court for violating a 2001 order. Criminal contempt has no maximum penalty.
Due to the serious nature of financial crimes, it is vital that individuals facing federal investigations or those who have been accused of federal offenses consult with an experienced federal criminal defense attorney. As with any criminal defense, the sooner the parties can establish a relationship with their attorney and begin building a strong strategy and defense, the better. With so much on the line, there is simply no reason to wait.
Source: FBI.gov, "Federal Agents Arrest Operators of Loan Modification Scam That Targeted Struggling Homeowners," Dec. 4, 2013