Punishable by up to 30 years in federal prison or $1,000,000 fine or both. Mortgage Fraud is illegal for a person to make any false statement regarding income, assets, debt, or matters of identification, or to willfully overvalue any land or property, in a loan and credit application for the purpose of influencing in any way the action of a financial institution. Florida leads the nation in mortgage fraud, and Miami-Dade and Broward counties lead the state. Average sentences for mortgage fraud convictions have increased from 24 months since 2004 to between 50 and 55 months currently. And, they’re expected to soon get harsher. In June 2009, Congress passed new legislation strengthening prosecutors’ ability to fight fraud and promised new funding for more agents, analysts and investigators. It also created a nationwide mortgage fraud task force modeled after a task force in Miami-Dade County.
The federal government Mortgage Fraud Task Force is composed of federal law enforcement agents from various federal agencies, including the FBI, IRS, and Secret Service. In response to what has been termed an “epidemic,” the State of Florida has rushed to enact additional criminal statutes that target mortgage fraud. These new laws took effect July 1, 2009. Now, even innocent mistakes are being swept up in the fervor to combat this “epidemic.”
Law enforcement is now focusing on loan modification companies and in July 2009 the Attorney General for the State of Florida instituted a civil law suit against loan modification companies that charge up-front fees to modify existing mortgages. Civil enforcement is in addition to the almost daily criminal charges being brought against those who have been involved in the real estate and ancillary professions. Don’t be a victim of government overreaching.
The Law Offices of James R Gailey & Associates, P.A. have years of experience in defending accusations of mortgage fraud. Call or email us today for a free consultation.