Florida Prosecution of Mortgage Frauds by Criminal Lawyer Ralph Behr: Part 4

Continuing the series on Mr. Behr’s mortgage fraud prosecutions in Florida:

18 U.S.C. §1014 Loan and credit applications generally; renewals and discounts; crop insurance
Under this federal statute, the government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt (1) a person knowingly made any material misrepresentations (2) directly to any specific federally insured institutions in the business of extending credit (3) for the purpose of influencing the institution’s actions.29 In United States v. Dominguez, 226 F.3d 1235 (11th Cir. 2000) the defendant faced multiple counts involving participation in a cocaine distribution organization and a mortgage fraud scheme.30 The basis of Dominguez’ assumed fraudulent mortgage scheme was an overestimation of his legitimate income by about $40,000.00 on federal tax returns and mortgage loan applications submitted to federally insured banks.31
Dominguez’ argued on appeal “…the district court erred by denying his motion to sever the drug-related charges and mortgage fraud-related charges…”32 The court found his argument to be without merit because it believed the concealment of his income from the “…the drug activity was the motive for the mortgage fraud.”33 Moreover, the court included the government’s closing argument in a footnote to find the two sets of charges were properly joined.34 The government claimed the defendant was falsifying his income just enough to be believable but not enough to raise any suspicion for a person “…four years out of law school.”35