Florida Mortgage Fraud Prosecutions: Part 10

Attorney Behr’s mortgage fraud prosecutions series continues with the following EXCERPT:
ii. State
Dissimilar to legislation by the federal government, the State of Florida and other states have specific promulgated legislation to prosecute mortgage fraud. Florida has three different statutes regarding mortgage fraud. The first two statutes are more concerned with the actual mortgage transaction while the last revolves around the process in the obtainment of a mortgage. The first statute, § 877.10, Fla. Stat. (2009) prohibits “…any person to knowingly make, issue, deliver, or receive dual contracts, either written or oral…” for the “…same parcel of real property…” one with “…the true and actual purchase price and..” and another reflecting “…a purchase price in excess of the true and actual purchase price…” used to induce mortgage investors “…to make a loan commitment on such real property in reliance upon the stated inflated value…” is guilty of a second degree misdemeanor.94 The second statute, § 817.54, Fla. Stat. (2009) concerns any person who “…obtains any mortgage, mortgage note, promissory note, or other instrument evidencing a debt from any person or obtains the signature of any person…” “…by color or aid of fraudulent or false pretenses…” is “…guilty of a felony of the third degree…”95

Lastly, the third and final statute, § 817.545, Fla. Stat. (2009) was promulgated for material misrepresentations or omissions in the “mortgage lending process.”96 § 817.545, Fla. Stat. (2009) was instituted to combat what Florida and other states have determined to be a serious problem, residential mortgage fraud.97 To battle against this serious issue of residential mortgage fraud, states have enacted legislation normally termed residential mortgage fraud acts to punish two different degrees of conduct committed during the mortgage lending process. Generally, as in other states, violations of § 817.545, Fla. Stat. (2009) are third degree felonies, however, exposure to a second degree felony under this statute is possible if “…the loan value stated on documents used in the mortgage lending process exceeds $100,000…”98 This monetary value qualifier for what Florida’s legislature considers to be more abhorrent conduct is inconsistent with other states’ mortgage fraud statutes.

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