The fraudulent practices of financial institutions regarding mortgages and real estate transactions have been the subject of Congressional hearings and media coverage. Banks, mortgage lenders and servicers, as well as the individuals associated with the mortgage and real estate business, have all been under heightened scrutiny since the housing collapse of 2008.
Over the last decade, federal and state law enforcement significantly increased the number of investigations into alleged misconduct and fraud related to mortgages. Charges have been filed against individuals who work in the industry, including settlement agents, underwriters, brokers, real estate agents, and even home buyers. Fraudulent mortgage transactions are complicated and, when prosecutors investigate an alleged crime, an innocent individual could be easily swept up in the chain of fraudulent activities. Mortgage fraud charges are a serious matter. If convicted, the penalties range from substantial fines to imprisonment. You need the representation of our dedicated and experienced Maryland mortgage fraud defense lawyer. Call the Law Offices of Randolph Rice at (410) 694-7291 to schedule a free consultation.
Maryland Mortgage Fraud Crimes
The housing crisis of 2008 resulted in a vigorous response on both the state and federal levels, including the formation of the Maryland Mortgage Fraud Task Force. Consisting of several state departments including the Department of Labor and the Attorney General, along with federal agencies such as the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the task force pulls the resources of all the departments to combat and prosecute fraudulent mortgage and real estate transactions.
You are guilty of mortgage fraud if you knowingly offer false statements or representations, in any form, with the intent to defraud relating to the origination of a mortgage, the sale of a mortgage, or a real estate transaction. Loan modification schemes, fraudulent commercial or residential mortgage loans, and illegal property flipping are also violations associated with mortgage fraud.
Violations that Constitute Mortgage Fraud in Maryland
Falsified information on loan applications, including income, job information, or bank account balances, is one of the most common violations. Additionally, loan applications that have inaccurate information regarding the buyer or the source of a down payment also constitute fraud. Unfortunately, fraudulent information goes undetected and unknowing individuals process loan applications or real estate transactions without realizing they are participating in fraudulent activity.
To obtain a conviction, a prosecutor must prove that a defendant knowingly engaged in fraudulent conduct. Our experienced Maryland attorneys will provide you with a vigorous defense. By thoroughly investigating the transactions in question, our financial forensic experts will trace the fraudulent activity to establish that you were unaware of the conduct. Furthermore, we will question other employees involved in the transaction, such as bank managers, brokers or underwriters to prove that you acted in your normal capacity, without any knowledge of the fraudulent conduct. Additionally, we will scrutinize all other evidence, including internal memos, work e-mails, reports, and proprietary computer systems, to establish your innocence.
Some of the several violations related to mortgage fraud we have defended include:
- Modified or fraudulent loan applications
- Fraudulent disclosure assets
- Purposefully inaccurate real estate appraisals
- Misuse of escrow funds
- Loan modification or home retention scams
- Fraudulent disclosure of funds
- Improper payments or kickback to brokers
- Willfully ignoring standard underwriting practices
The attorneys at the Law Office of Randolph Rice have over a decade of experience aggressively defending individuals facing charges related to mortgage fraud. We have the resources and knowledge to prepare a proper defense on your behalf.
Penalties for Mortgage Fraud in Maryland
Mortgage fraud offenses are split into violations associated with the origination of the mortgage or those that negatively impact the home buyer. The consequences you face will be dependent on the facts of your case. However, a conviction for mortgage fraud could result in fines up to $1,000,000 as well as imprisonment from one to thirty years. If you have been charged with any mortgage fraud violation, it is essential you retain the services of our experienced Maryland attorneys.
Common Types of Mortgage Fraud by Home Buyers in Maryland
While the media tends to highlight the deceptive conduct on the part of banks and financial institutions, many times the home buyer is guilty of the fraudulent conduct.
You could be facing a criminal investigation for real estate fraud if you make any false representations on a loan application or provide falsified documentation to support your application. Additionally, misrepresenting your income or failing to disclose the source of funds in your bank account could also lead to a criminal investigation.
Some of the common fraudulent behavior home buyers engage in includes:
- Creating a fictitious buyer to purchase a home.
- Providing falsified pay stubs, bank statements, tax returns, or other financial documents to support a loan application.
- Providing a falsified appraisal of your property.
- Using a second mortgage to pay the down payment on your first mortgage without informing either lender.
- Charging fees to distressed homeowners and making fraudulent promises of loan modifications or settlement agreements.
- Continuing to collect rent on a foreclosed property without making mortgage payments.
Call Our Maryland Mortgage Fraud Defense Lawyer for a Free Consultation
If you are facing a criminal investigation for mortgage fraud, you need our experienced Maryland mortgage fraud defense lawyer. Charges related to mortgage fraud are serious and, if convicted, the consequences could range from substantial fines to imprisonment as well as ruining your professional reputation. Call the Law Offices of Randolph Rice at (410) 694-7291 to schedule a free consultation.