You Have Found the Right Mortgage Fraud Attorney
Mortgage fraud (also known as real estate fraud) refers to a person or business acting unlawfully in a real estate transaction. It can occur during appraisal, closing, foreclosure, and at any other time in the mortgage process.
Continue reading if you would like to learn more or contact Simmons Wagner, LLP at (949) 439-5857 now for a free legal consultation if you have been accused of or charged with mortgage fraud.
Theft by False Pretense
This is a type of mortgage crime in which a person or business defrauds another out of money or property by making false promises and/or representations. To prove this charge, the state must show that the defendant:
- Intentionally deceived a mortgage lender or real estate owner
- The deception was completed via a false promise
- The alleged victim gave the defendant their property or money
When a professional claims they can help a homeowner avoid foreclosure, they can be found guilty of foreclosure fraud if they:
- Charged the homeowner before providing a service
- Charged or collected excessive fees for their services
- Took a monetary interest in the property before the foreclosure
- Defrauded the homeowner into signing an illegal contract
- Took money from a third party for their services without telling the homeowner
- Took a power of attorney from the homeowner
These are a few of the ways in which a person can be guilty of foreclosure fraud in California.
In some cases, mortgage fraud is charged in California under state laws regarding forged documents. These laws make it illegal for a person to knowingly file, record, or register a forged or otherwise false document with a government office in the state.
Other Types of Mortgage Fraud
There are many other types of mortgage fraud a person can be accused of, including:
- Straw buyer schemes in which a person buys a property on behalf of someone else if the transaction defrauds someone or the real buyer cannot lawfully buy the home.
- Illegal property flipping in which the value of the property is unlawfully inflated at appraisal, and a buyer purchases the property based on that inflated appraisal.
- Predatory lending in which a mortgage broker offers a loan to a buyer and loads it with unreasonable fees that do not benefit the borrower.
- Bait and switch in which the homeowner believes they are securing a new mortgage but are in fact signing over their home to someone else
- Phantom help scams in which a foreclosure assistance program promises to help, charges a fee, and then does not provide any service.
California Laws that Can Be Used to Charge Mortgage Fraud
Depending on the specifics of a case, a prosecutor can use any number of statutes to charge mortgage fraud. They include laws pertaining to:
- Grand theft
- Foreclosure fraud
- Rent skimming
- Filing forged documents
The defendant can face felony or misdemeanor charges depending on the seriousness of the charge, their criminal history, and the value of their crimes. The best way to reduce the potential consequences is to work with an experienced mortgage fraud attorney. Contact Simmons Wagner, LLP at (949) 439-5857 now for a free legal consultation.