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Fraud: Mortgage/Real Estate Fraud

Miami Mortgage Fraud Defense Lawyers

The downturn in the housing marketing in 2008 and 2009 exposed Miami as one of the national leaders in real estate and mortgage fraud. The prosecution of mortgage fraud and real estate fraud cases sky-rocketed both in state and federal court. In 2009, the FBI reported that its mortgage fraud case load had increased by 50 percent. Mortgage fraud cases usually involve multiple participants including developers, borrowers, loan officers, real estate agents, appraisers, title agents, accountants and attorneys. As lending practices tightened up, the number of arrests in mortgage fraud cases declined significantly.

Both state and federal authorities investigate cases involving mortgage and real estate fraud. In fact, the State of Florida and the United States government have created special task forces comprised of investigators, financial analysts and prosecutors who are targeting fraudulent real estate deals involving mortgage fraud. Defendants charged with mortgage fraud and real estate fraud face numerous charges, including grand theft, organized scheme to defraud, wire fraud, bank fraud, mail fraud and money laundering. Being accused of mortgage fraud is a serious matter. Anyone convicted of mortgage fraud related charges face significant periods of incarceration, extensive fines and restitution obligations. The Miami criminal lawyers at DMT have successfully defended dozens of mortgage fraud cases both in state and federal court.

Mortgage fraud and real estate fraud involve complex schemes to defraud lending institutions, such as banks. The majority of cases involving mortgage and real estate fraud involve individuals illegally obtaining mortgage loans and taking the proceeds for personal gain. One of the most popular schemes to commit mortgage fraud include the use of straw buyers to purchase properties and within months, sell the property to make a quick profit.

Another type of mortgage fraud involves fraudulent HUDs. A real estate contract and HUD are completed by a seller and straw buyer. After the transaction is complete and second fraudulent HUD is submitted to the lending institution with and inflated sales price. The seller is provided his or her funds, and the mortgage and real estate broker divide the profits from the difference in real and fraudulent sales price. Other types of mortgage fraud include: occupancy fraud, income fraud, employment fraud, appraisal fraud, failure to disclose liabilities and cash-back schemes.

The criminal defense team at DMT has represented home buyers and sellers, as well as real estate agents, mortgage brokers, attorneys and accountants accused of illegally obtaining mortgages. Miami mortgage fraud cases are complex and involve voluminous amounts of paperwork. These cases demand a critical analysis of the case. If you or a loved has been contacted by law enforcement authorities regarding a mortgage fraud or real estate fraud investigation, contact a Miami mortgage fraud lawyer at DMT to become involved immediately in the defense of your case.

Under federal law, there is no specific statute criminalizing mortgage fraud. Federal indictments involving mortgage fraud usually contain some of following offenses: wire fraud, mail fraud, bank fraud, money laundering and racketeering (RICO). The FBI and the United States Attorney's Office are responsible for investigating and prosecuting mortgage fraud cases. Defendants charged with crimes relating to mortgage fraud are looking at extensive prison sentences. The federal sentencing guidelines establish the potential penalties if convicted. The guidelines will be largely determined by the amount of loss suffered by the financial institutions that were defrauded.

The Florida statutes contain a specific provision criminalizing mortgage fraud. Additional offenses such as grand theft, organized scheme to defraud, money laundering and racketeering can also be charged on information in a mortgage fraud case. A person may be charged in state court if the evidence exists that a person committed mortgage fraud by making material misrepresentations or omissions during the mortgage lending process. The majority of the cases are built around fraudulent documents such as loan applications, HUD-1 settlement statements, tax returns, W-2 forms, verification of employment and income forms, and inspection and appraisal reports. The majority of large-scale state cases are prosecuted by the Office of the Statewide prosecutor.

To speak with a skilled criminal defense lawyer at DMT about your mortgage fraud or real estate fraud case, or if you have questions regarding mortgage or real estate fraud, please contact DMT to schedule your free consultation. You can call our office at (305) 444-0030 or reach us by completing the form on our contact page or by sending an e-mail. We are available every day of the year, 24 hours a day.
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