Mortgage Fraud: Loan And Credit Applications
Mortgage fraud is generally defined as a crime in which:
an individual or a group intentionally misrepresents or omits information on a mortgage loan application to obtain a loan or larger loan that would have otherwise been unobtainable had the lender — and even the borrower — known the truth.
Mortgage fraud may be perpetrated by one or more participants in a loan transaction, including:
- The borrower
- A real estate agent
- A loan officer
- An appraiser
- A title or escrow representative or attorney
Falsified mortgage applications are now the most common type of mortgage fraud. According to LexisNexis Risk Solutions’ annual mortgage fraud report, the occurrences of fraudulent mortgage applications have risen steadily for the past three years. Attributed to the rising incidence of application fraud are tighter credit conditions that make it harder for borrowers to qualify and for industry professionals to profit.
According to the statute 18 U.S. Code § 1014, whoever knowingly makes a false statement or report or willfully overvalues any land, property or security or any person or entity that makes a federally related mortgage loan as defined in section 3 of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act of 1974 shall be fined up to $1 million or imprisoned up to 30 years, or both.
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Whether there was intent to deceive or a loved one thought he or she was doing something nice for a relative by purchasing a home under a different name, mortgage fraud is still a federal offense and thus punishable under federal law. Don’t find yourself fighting fraud charges alone. Talk to an experienced criminal defense lawyer.
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