Florida Mortgage Fraud Cases
Mortgage fraud schemes employ some type of material misstatement, misrepresentation, or omission relating to a real estate transaction which is relied on by one or more parties to the transaction. These schemes include:
- Foreclosure rescue schemes
- Loan modification schemes
- Illegal property flipping
- Builder bailout/condo conversion
- Equity skimming
- Silent second
- Home equity conversion mortgage
- Commercial real estate loans
- Air loans
There are two types of Mortgage Fraud
- Fraud for Property
- Fraud for Profit
Fraud for Property, also known as Fraud for Housing, usually involves the borrower as the perpetrator on a single loan. The borrower makes a few misrepresentations, usually regarding income, personal debt, and property value, or there are down payment problems. The borrower wants the property and intends to repay the loan. Sometimes industry professionals are involved in coaching the borrower so that they qualify. Fraud for Property/Housing accounts for 20 percent of all fraud.
Local Broker and Partner Arrested, Charged in Mortgage Fraud Case
FBI says ‘ring’ bought, sold upscale houses illegally
The Daytona Beach Journal. March 29, 2013 By Lyda Longa, STAFF WRITER-Source
Real estate broker and investor Ramara Garrett and her boyfriend and business partner Jim Sotolongo were arrested by the FBI on Friday and charged with conspiracy to defraud financial institutions into lending them millions of dollars in a mortgage fraud scheme that lasted seven years, a federal criminal complaint shows.
The couple, who live in Wilbur-by-the-Sea, along with Winter Park title agent Stephanie Musselwhite and mortgage broker Christopher Mencis — an associate of Sotolongo — were the focus of a three-year investigation by the FBI’s Fraud Task Force.
FBI Agent Robert Robichaud wrote in the complaint that Sotolongo, Garrett, Musselwhite and Mencis, as well as other co-conspirators who have not been charged, were part of the “Sotolongo Mortgage Fraud Ring.”
For a period of seven years, between 2005 and 2012, the group made false statements to financial institutions for the purpose of influencing the banks on mortgage loan approvals, according to the complaint. The group launched a scheme to defraud the banks in order to obtain loans for upscale properties, some valued in the millions of dollars, the complaint states.
Florida Leads Nation in Mortgage Fraud
Florida led the nation in mortgage fraud activity in the fourth quarter, according to Mortgage Daily.
The Dallas-based website’s Mortgage Fraud Index fell to its lowest level nationally in five years, but activity in Florida spiked. Tracking legal actions, such as criminal prosecutions, Mortgage Daily measured $246.9 million in mortgage fraud cases in Florida in the fourth quarter. The much larger California was second at $194.3 million.
Nationally, there was $1.25 billion in mortgage fraud in the fourth quarter. That means nearly 20 percent of it occurred in Florida.
Mortgage Daily publisher Sam Garcia warned that mortgage fraud case activity nationwide appears to be on the upswing in the first quarter.
In Friday’s print edition of the Business Journal, Looking Glass Group CEO Becky Walzak cautioned lenders that the real estate rebound in South Florida could create opportunities for mortgage fraud. Source
West Palm Beach Mortgage Fraud Defense Attorney
In Florida, mortgage fraud and real estate fraud is a growing issue. The government is pursuing cases against straw buyers, homeowners, investors, appraisers and anyone else involved in the real estate transaction in order to curb the rise in these crimes. It is important to hire an experienced lawyer who has handled these cases and knows how to protect your rights.
At the law firm of Andrew D. Stine, P.A., in West Palm Beach, we represent people arrested for mortgage and real estate fraud, including:
- Overestimating income
- Overvaluing homes
- Making false appraisals
- Making false statements on a mortgage application or HUD statement
- Engaging in mortgage and real estate schemes
Contact Andrew D. Stine, P.A., for Aggressive Representation
Many mortgage fraud cases result in additional charges of fraud or money laundering. For instance, making a false statement on an HUD statement and then sending that statement through the mail may constitute mail fraud. Getting a mortgage from a corrupt broker may result in money laundering charges. The accused may not even realize he or she committed a crime until the investigation.
If you tell us you did not intend to commit fraud, we will defend you aggressively. We will review bank statements, mortgage applications, and other documents pertinent to your case. We will also review the sale and buying history of the house to determine if fraudulent practices occurred before you purchased it. If you are an innocent player in a larger mortgage fraud scheme, we can have the case dismissed.
Free consultation 24/7: Call West Palm Beach criminal defense lawyer Andrew D. Stine, P.A. at (561) 832-1170. Se habla español.