Obtaining a mortgage for a real estate purchase can be complicated and confusing. This is why it often takes many months between filing an application and the day of closing on the loan. Because some may take advantage of the complexities of the mortgage process and commit fraud, California and federal agencies work tirelessly to track down and prosecute those involved in such schemes.
Mortgage fraud can occur in numerous ways and involve individuals or a network of participants. Since the process of obtaining a mortgage requires many steps and potentially dozens of people, opportunities to use deception can present themselves at any level. Whether you are facing accusations of using fraud to obtain a home or to make a profit, a conviction for using illegal methods during the mortgage process can result in severe penalties.
Who is involved?
For some, the uncertainty of whether they will qualify for a mortgage may mean the difference between owning a home and remaining as renters. This may prompt them to commit fraud to improve the chances of approval for a home loan. This may involve misrepresenting their income or assets, using someone else’s identity on the application, or working with others to adjust the value of the property. Any misrepresentation of information in obtaining a mortgage is fraud with the potential for serious consequences.
In some cases, professionals have faced accusations of conspiring to work together to commit fraud, including any of the following and others:
- Bank officials
- Loan originators
- Mortgage brokers
- Real estate agents
- Property inspectors
- Escrow agents
Often mortgage fraud has the goal of increasing the value of a home for purchase, obtaining real estate to turn a profit or raising the amount of compensation a professional might gain during the transaction, among others.
Don’t face the charges alone
If authorities have accused you of involvement in a fraud scheme or you have concerns that you are under investigation, it is possible investigators believe you are working with others along the transaction chain.
Facing charges of mortgage fraud places your future at risk. It is likely state or federal authorities have been investigating the fraud for some time, and they may have significant evidence to use against you. Because of this, you would be wise to reach out for legal representation as early as possible and refrain from speaking to investigators before you consult with a skilled attorney who has experience in cases of mortgage fraud.