A Chicago Federal Criminal Defense Attorney With The Experience To Fight Mortgage Fraud Charges
Mortgage fraud refers to any misrepresentation or omission a lender materially relies upon when making a decision to fund or secure a loan for a borrower. Mortgage fraud comes in a variety of shapes and sizes, whether it is a real estate investment scheme, equity skimming, property flipping based on invalid appraisal information, or a shady short sale, these illegal activities happen all too often. An atmosphere that encouraged fraudulent related mortgage activity hit an all time high when America entered the economic recession, leading to a myriad of legal proceedings against both borrowers and lenders for inappropriate and illegal activity. Unfortunately, this left hundreds of thousands of individuals with mounting debt that is unpayable, poor credit scores, and in some cases, without their homes.
Some other examples of what lenders will do to defraud a consumer or homeowner include:
- Wrongful Refinancing – Lenders will claim to be able to offer a refinancing plan to help a homeowner keep their home, just to leave them exposed to scams involving overpriced fees and unfavorable contract terms.
- Providing Ineffective Financial Assistance – Lenders will overstate what a homeowner can afford or help alter their documentation in order to secure a loan.
- Inflated Appraisals – Lenders will work with an appraiser to provide inflated appraisal rates on a home in order to get a higher selling prices for the seller.
- Equity Skimming – Investors will use doctored credit reports and income documents in order to obtain a mortgage from a lender in the name of an individual who then signs property rights over to the investor, who in turn fails to make payments, causing a homeowner to default and potentially never own a home again.
Any of these can leave a homeowner without recourse and unsure as to where to turn.
As mentioned in some of the examples, mortgage fraud is not always a one man show, it can potentially involve several parties, colluding to defraud an innocent consumer just to make a deal happen. Some of the potential wrongdoers include: the lending company itself, appraisers, investors, developers and contractors, unlicensed brokers, as well as bank representatives.
However, it is important to note that mortgage fraud is not only conducted by lenders, borrowers have also misrepresented information to lenders in hopes of securing a home they do not actually qualify to own. Some of the illegal activities include providing fraudulent documentation in order to secure a loan, using a stolen identity to get a loan or in order to avoid liability, having another party buy a home in order to later sell to the intended buyer, as well as performing under the table deals with either the seller to obtain the property.
Illinois Mortgage Fraud Laws
If you were the victim of mortgage fraud, there are both federal and state laws that will protect you and punish the wrongdoer.On a federal level, Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act helps protect consumers by providing the government with additional measures and strengthening criminal regulation to investigate and eventually prosecute not only mortgage fraud, but also any corporate or financial fraudulent dealings. The Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act, also known as FERA, also focuses heavily on the taxpayer by enhancing the Civil False Claims Act to recover monies lost to fraud and abuse.
On a state level, the Mortgage Rescue Fraud Act of Illinois protects you from the illegal activities conducted in association with mortgage fraud. The Act has specific requirements for those institutions who are offering mortgage rescue services in order to limit the opportunity for dishonest deals. The specific actionable violations are listed in the Act, along with any potential civil or criminal punishments that the wrongdoer may incur as a result of violation. This Act is applicable to those homeowners or consumers who have purchased residential property and are in foreclosure or near it.
How An Experienced Illinois Mortgage Fraud Attorney Can Help
If you have been accused by a lending company, investor, appraiser, or another party, legal recourse is available to help you get the justice you deserve. In order to get your case started today, contact the Offices of Sami Azhari, LLC, any time, day or night, weekday or weekend, to discuss your case. Feel free to call Sami directly at (312) 626 – 2871 or (847) 255 – 2100. No commitment is required and the consultation is always free.