Since the housing market collapse in 2008, the government has taken a markedly greater interest in mortgage fraud at many levels. In the New York metropolitan area, the sheer density of financial institutions gives rise to a significant number of white-collar crimes.
For profit or for housing?
The primary distinction that investigative agencies make hinges upon the motive for the act. If they believe the suspect acted for profit, then the case receives a higher priority level than one where the goal was simply to obtain housing. This is a key component of bank and mortgage fraud investigations, and it can greatly affect the decisions that investigators make going forward
Common types of mortgage fraud
Mortgage fraud encompasses a wide range of possible offenses including:
- False statements on applications
- Straw buyers
- Air loans
- Double or multiple sales
- Illegal property flipping
- Builder bail-out
- Equity skimming
Property flipping and builder bail-out scams involve the use of fraudulent appraisals to inflate the price of the property beyond its worth. Air loans are mortgage applications on properties or involving buyers that don’t exist. Similarly, straw buyer mortgage fraud cases involve using real or invented identities to conceal the true ownership of a property. As these specific crimes are generally for profit, a consultation with an experienced bank and mortgage fraud attorney is critical to your case.
It is not uncommon for federal law enforcement to get involved in the investigation and prosecution of mortgage fraud and other white-collar crimes. If you face charges of mortgage fraud, bank fraud, wire fraud or similar related charges, potentially penalties include restitution and years in prison. Contacting a white-collar criminal defense attorney should be your first step.