Florida is known for its booming real estate market; drawing in new residents and investors to its warm, sunny atmosphere. With any investment there is a possibility of failure. When housing loans result in foreclosure, the party that takes a financial hit may discover the documentation securing the deal was inaccurate or fraudulent. An inaccuracy does not necessarily mean there was a planned and coordinated attempt to defraud the lender, especially considering the flurry of paperwork involved in securing a loan.
Mortgage fraud is the intentional misrepresentation of income, appraisal reports, credit reports, and other documentation used in a mortgage application that materially effects whether the loan is granted. A first offense of mortgage fraud is a felony, and it is important to have a financial crimes defense attorney that can effectively disprove the intent to defraud.Jacksonville Mortgage Fraud Lawyer
Roelke Law can represent you in federal or Florida state courts for fraud charges related to residential housing loans. The massive housing bubble hit Florida especially hard, and has led to a large number of mortgage fraud cases within our Northeast Florida courts. Although the housing bubble busted several years ago, we are still dealing with the consequences and new indictments take place regularly.
Attorney William Roelke is adept at researching large, complex financial agreements, piecing together the evidence to represent his client’s interests. Call (904) 354-0333 to discuss your case in a free, confidential consultation if you are facing mortgage or bank fraud charges in Jacksonville, Jacksonville Beach, Atlantic Beach, Neptune Beach, Baldwin, and surrounding communities.Duval County Mortgage Fraud Information Center
- Which actions constitute this type of offense?
- What are the consequences if a person is convicted of these charges?
- How does this crime result in federal charges?
Anyone who has bought a house knows the amount of paperwork and back-and-forth required to close the deal. In every step, documentation must be thorough and accurate in order for the lender to appropriately account for the risk and required interest rate and terms. Florida Statute § 817.545 covers the entire mortgage lending process, to include the solicitation, application or origination, negotiation of terms, third-party provider services, underwriting, signing and closing, and funding of the loan.
It is against the law to:
- Make any material misstatement, misrepresentation, or omission during the mortgage lending process with the intention that the misstatement, misrepresentation, or omission will be relied on by a mortgage lender, borrower, or any other person or entity involved in the mortgage lending process.
- Use or facilitate the use of any material misstatement, misrepresentation, or omission during the mortgage lending process with the intention that the material misstatement, misrepresentation, or omission will be relied on by a mortgage lender, borrower, or any other person or entity involved in the mortgage lending process.
- Receive any proceeds or any other funds in connection with the mortgage lending process that the person knew resulted from a material misrepresentation.
- File or cause to be filed with the clerk of the circuit court for any county of this state a document involved in the mortgage lending process which contains a material misstatement, misrepresentation, or omission.
Mortgage fraud, where the value of the loan is less than $100,000, is a third degree felony. The prison term is up to five years with a fine up to $5,000. If the loan value was greater than $100,000, the punishment will be a second degree felony. The maximum prison term is 15 years and up to $10,000 in fines.
Mortgage fraud may be prosecuted at the federal level, especially if there are federal agencies involved such as Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Federal Housing Finance Agency, or the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Additionally, fraud cases that involve misrepresentations sent through mail, fax, or email will often be within the jurisdiction of federal courts.
18 U.S. Code § 1343 - Fraud by wire, radio, or television
Wire fraud is a scheme to obtain money or property through false representations or promises, where fraudulent documentation is transported by means of wire, radio, or television communication in interstate commerce. This statute includes the transmission of any writings, signs, signals, pictures, or sounds.
Wire fraud may be punished by a prison term up to 20 years. If the fraud involved money or other benefits from a major disaster, the punishment increases to a 30-year maximum prison sentence.
18 U.S. Code § 1344 - Bank fraud
A person who knowingly attempts to execute a scheme to defraud a financial institution or obtain anything of value in the bank’s possession by fraudulent means commits bank fraud. They shall be fined no more than $1,000,000, imprisoned up to 30 years, or both.
Roelke Law has represented numerous clients in cases of white collar crimes and financial crimes. Call us at (904) 354-0333 to discuss the case facing you. In large-scale investigations, many people are tapped by law enforcement so they can build a stronger case for indictments. If a law enforcement agent has contacted you, it is wise to consult with a competent white collar crimes defense lawyer.
For clients in Northeast Florida, including Jacksonville, St. Augustine, Green Cove Springs, Penney Farms, Fernandina Beach, and Hilliard, your first consultation is free, confidential, and no-obligation.