Fraud charges can come with serious consequences. Those who suspect they may face some form of fraud charge should carefully consider the steps they need to take to build the strongest defense possible.
Not only do fraud charges endanger your freedoms as a civilian, they can ruin your professional and personal reputation, making it difficult to continue building your career or parts of your life if not properly addressed.
Mortgage fraud is not an area commonly considered when discussing fraud, but it is certainly illegal, and can result in serious criminal charges. In fact, there are many more ways to commit mortgage fraud than you might realize. While accidents are not generally considered fraud, you may still find yourself in a legal grey area where it is wise to tread carefully.
Should you face mortgage fraud charges, or suspect that you may have committed a crime, you can consult with an experienced white collar defense attorney. However you choose to proceed, take great care to ensure that your rights remain protected as well as your reputation.
Primary forms of mortgage fraud
The law enforcement agencies who prosecute mortgage fraud generally classify violations in two broad categories. Most mortgage fraud means either falsifying information or otherwise manipulating the mortgage process to secure unfairly favorable terms as a buyer, or manipulating the mortgage process as a real estate professional in order to benefit from a particular transaction or batch of transactions.
As a buyer, you may commit fraud if you intentionally submit inaccurate information to secure a better mortgage, or secretly secure a secondary mortgage to cover a down payment for a primary mortgage. A buyer may also commit mortgage fraud by misrepresenting one’s own identity, or attempting to use someone else’s identity and credit scores to obtain favorable mortgage terms, or possibly by colluding with another party to falsely inflate or deflate the appraisal value of a property.
Similarly, a real estate professional may manipulate the mortgage process to secure an unfair benefit or to obtain unreasonably large compensation for his or her role in a transaction.
Don’t wait to begin building your defense
Realistically, rash actions after discovering some potentially illegal act or receiving fraud charges can do just as much to close the door on a conviction as the actions that lead to allegations in the first place.
Be sure that you do not overreact and “act guilty.” In instances of fraud allegations, guilty behavior can be devastating to an otherwise strong defense. Remember to remain silent about the matter with anyone but an attorney representing you, who does not have to divulge anything you share to a court.