Understanding Mortgage Fraud Crimes

Mortgage Fraud Defense

Obtaining money or property by any fraudulent means, device or scheme, is the underlying criminal act for prosecutions of mortgage fraud or bank fraud.

Providing false information, fraudulent documents, and material misrepresentations of income or assets to obtain bank financing can be prosecuted as a grand theft, forged or fraudulent document charge, bank fraud, wire fraud, or the newly minted crime of mortgage fraud.

These charges originate both in state courts and federal courts. Mortgage fraud as a crime category can be prosecuted under a multiple of criminal theories. Federal prosecutors often frame these cases as a wire fraud offenses. Wire fraud is the use of interstate electronic communication systems to perpetrate or advance a criminal enterprise in which a material misrepresentation is made for fraudulent financial or criminal solicitations.

In state courts prosecutors often move these cases under a more varied scheme of criminal charges. The complexity of the undertaking by fraud can be determinative of the criminal prosecution. Often a charge of theft is easier to prosecute than a scheme to defraud. In state courts local prosecutors have a higher comfort level when charging fraud, scheme to defraud, and theft charges.

In federal prosecutions, because of the broader scope of federal criminal statutes bank fraud and wire fraud on a more commonly charged.

Because of the complexity of these cases and the documents which are presented in any mortgage application, mortgage fraud cases are often considered white collar crimes. This complexity often leads to a confusion in the minds of both prosecutors and jurors. Mortgage fraud cases are won and lost in courtrooms because lawyers cannot clearly state their case. Both prosecutors and defense attorneys skilled in the art of trial preparation focus on communicating to the jury in simple terms.

During the years of 2005 through including 2007 rising real estate sales and prices precipitated a significant increase in a mortgage fraud cases. In the year 2008 the cities and jurisdictions in South Florida, led by Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach witnessed the largest increase in mortgage fraud prosecutions. In the first six months of 2008 the city of Miami saw over 50 mortgage brokers and real estate professionals arrested and prosecuted under the varied criminal theories of theft, fraud, and conspiracy to commit bank fraud, wire fraud and grand theft.