Tampa Mortgage Fraud Defense Lawyer
Ever since the financial crash in 2008, the federal government has increased its enforcement of mortgage fraud. It is no secret that loose lending standards led to a real estate bubble in the early 2000s, which drove the country into recession when it popped. Unfortunately, overzealous prosecutors can bring mortgage fraud charges against innocent defendants, and prosecutorial overreach is a real problem. If you are facing charges, or if investigators have shown up at your door to ask questions, contact an experienced Tampa mortgage fraud defense lawyer at O’Mara Law Group.
Types of Mortgage Fraud
Mortgage fraud is mostly committed by borrowers or industry insiders, such as appraisers or bank officers. It consists in the intentional misrepresentation or omission of information to a seller or mortgage lender with the goal of obtaining a loan or improving the terms of a loan.
Some common examples include:
- Misstating income to receive a larger loan
- Overvaluing or undervaluing the property
- Submitting an inflated appraisal
- Using straw buyers
- Flipping property illegally
Why do people commit mortgage fraud? Most often, it is to obtain a loan they otherwise would not qualify for. Mortgage fraud is always evolving, and regulators attempt to stay one step ahead of scammers.
Penalties for Mortgage Fraud
Mortgage fraud is prosecuted using several federal laws, such as bank fraud, wire fraud, mail fraud, conspiracy, and others. Each statute has its own penalties which a prosecutor can seek. It is not unusual for mortgage fraud defendants to face multiple charges based on an alleged violation of several laws.
For example, someone charged with bank fraud is facing up to 30 years in prison, along with a fine up to $1,000,000. Of course, not all defendants receive the maximum sentence, which depends on a person’s criminal history and other factors. But anyone convicted of mortgage fraud could face considerable time in prison.
Defending Against Mortgage Fraud Charges
Our Tampa mortgage fraud attorneys carefully review the facts before settling on a defense. Our team always listens to our client’s side of the story and analyzes all evidence turned over by the prosecution. We can also seek out evidence the prosecutor might have overlooked.
In our experience, we can attack a mortgage fraud charge in several ways:
- Our client didn’t give false information. It might very well be the case that all information was accurate, in which case there is no fraud.
- Our client did not knowingly make a false statement. To secure a fraud conviction, the prosecution must do more than show a statement or information was false. They must also show that our client knew it was false. Sometimes, a defendant makes a false statement innocently, believing it was true.
- The prosecution’s evidence is insufficient. A prosecutor must prove all elements of the underlying offense by proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Sometimes the evidence is weak or there is conflicting evidence which creates doubt.
There may be other defenses available. It is critically important to meet with an attorney before giving any statement to investigators, as they will use all incriminating statements against you.
A Tampa Mortgage Defense Attorney is One Call Away
O’Mara Law Group has defended many men and women from fraud charges. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation with a member of our firm.