Since the housing crash in 2008, mortgage lenders, financial institutions, and the individuals working in related businesses have been under significant public scrutiny. Mortgage fraud violations have been highlighted in the news and media, while state and federal investigations and prosecutions mount.
As state and federal law enforcement dramatically increased investigations into alleged mortgage fraud, several individuals’ conduct came into question. People employed in and around the industry, including brokers, real estate agents, appraisers, settlement agents, and underwriters, have faced heightened scrutiny. When prosecutors work to determine the guilty party in a fraudulent loan application, home sale, or investment, they could indict an innocent party. Mortgage fraud charges are serious, and if you are facing a conviction, the consequences could range from substantial fines to imprisonment. You need the representation of our dedicated and experienced Baltimore mortgage fraud defense lawyer. Call Rice, Murtha & Psoras at (410) 694-7291 to schedule a free consultation.
Understanding the Crime of Mortgage Fraud in Baltimore, MD
The housing crisis of 2008 resulted in the creation of numerous state and federal law enforcement initiatives. Maryland enacted the Maryland Mortgage Fraud Task Force, including several state departments, including the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, the Attorney General, and the Maryland Insurance Administration, coupled with federal agencies such as the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Mortgage fraud consists of knowingly offering false representations or statements, in any form, with the intent to defraud. Mortgage fraud can relate to the origination of a mortgage, the sale of a mortgage, or a real estate transaction. Other violations associated with mortgage fraud include loan modification schemes, fraudulent commercial or residential mortgage loans, and illegal property flipping.
Mortgage fraud immediately brings up thoughts of nefarious banks and brokers preying on unsuspecting home buyers. However, in many instances, a home buyer could engage in fraudulent conduct concerning their mortgage. You could be facing a criminal investigation for real estate fraud for misrepresenting your income or failing to disclose the source of funds in your bank account. Additionally, making false representations on a loan application or falsifying any supporting documentation if fraudulent behavior.
Some activities that can constitute fraudulent conduct include:
- Utilizing a fake buyer to purchase a home.
- Submitting falsified pay stubs, tax returns, or other financial documents to support fraudulent information loan application.
- Having a property artificially appraised at a higher or lower value.
- Obtaining a second mortgage for a down payment on a first mortgage without informing the lenders.
- Collecting rent on a foreclosed property without paying the mortgage.
- Collecting fees from homeowners in danger of losing their homes to supposedly renegotiate the terms of their mortgages but either not negotiating anything or negotiating unmanageable terms.
- Applying for a loan with fictitious borrowers and properties.
Penalties for Mortgage Fraud
Mortgage fraud offenses are generally categorized as loan origination or distressed homeowner fraud. The specific facts of your case will affect the potential consequences. However, a conviction for mortgage fraud could result in significant fines, up to $1,000,000 and imprisonment from 1 to 30 years. It is vital to retain the services of our knowledgeable Baltimore mortgage defense attorney if you are facing charges related to mortgage fraud.
Violations Related to Mortgage Fraud in Baltimore
Mortgage fraud generally consists of falsified information on loan applications, including income, job information, or bank account balances. For example, a loan application with deliberate inaccurate information regarding the buyer or the source of a down payment. In many circumstances, the fraudulent information is undetected and the loan application or real estate transaction proceeds without the parties involved realizing they are participating in fraudulent activity.
For a successful conviction, a prosecutor must prove that the participant knowingly engaged in fraudulent conduct. Our seasoned Baltimore attorneys will present an aggressive defense on your behalf. By thoroughly questioning eyewitnesses, including other employees involved in the transaction, bank managers, and underwriters, we will work to establish that you acted in your normal capacity, without any knowledge of the fraudulent conduct. Furthermore, we will analyze other evidence, including internal e-mails, memos, and proprietary reporting or computer systems, to establish your innocence.
The various violations related to mortgage fraud in Baltimore include:
- Failure to disclose assets
- Falsified loan applications
- Falsified real estate appraisals
- Improper use of escrow funds
- Loan modification or foreclosure schemes
- House flipping
- Illegal payments to brokers
- Failure to adhere to standard underwriting practices
- Falsified disclosure of funds
The attorneys at the Law Office of Randolph Rice will vigorously work to prove that you had no knowledge of the fraudulent conduct or that you did not purposefully provide false information. With over a decade of experience and knowledge, we prepare an aggressive defend the allegations aim at you.
Call Our Baltimore Mortgage Fraud Defense Lawyer for a Free Consultation
If you are facing a criminal investigation for mortgage fraud, you need our experienced Baltimore mortgage fraud defense lawyer. Mortgage fraud charges are serious, and if you are facing a conviction, the consequences could range from substantial fines to imprisonment as well as ruining your professional reputation. Call Rice, Murtha & Psoras at (410) 694-7291 to schedule a free consultation.