Real Estate / Mortgage Fraud
In Florida, mortgage fraud and real estate fraud is a growing problem. From nominee loans, to overvalued homes, to false statements or appraisals made in the process, to full-blown real estate schemes, the government is cracking down on cases against straw buyers, homeowners, investors, appraisers, and anyone else involved in a fraudulent real estate transaction.
A conviction for mortgage fraud or real estate fraud can have a serious impact on your future social and financial welfare, whether you are a homebuyer or a real estate agent. Working with an experienced fraud defense lawyer in Palm Beach County could be the difference between facing the lasting repercussions of a real estate or mortgage fraud conviction and achieving a more favorable outcome like reduced charges or a not guilty verdict.
West Palm Beach Real Estate and Mortgage Fraud Defense Attorney
Whether you made a mistake or had no intention of ever committing real estate or mortgage fraud, you have rights as an American citizen that need protecting. If you have been charged with real estate fraud or mortgage fraud in West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Boynton Beach, Delray Beach, Greenacres, Jupiter, Lake Worth, Palm Beach Gardens, Riviera Beach, Royal Palm Beach, Wellington, or anywhere else in Palm Beach County, make the important first step in your defense and call Andrew D. Stine, P.A. immediately. When considering a lawyer as a part of your defense, it is best to contact him as soon as possible after your arrest.
Andrew Stine is a qualified West Palm Beach criminal defense lawyer with over a decade of experience working with clients like you. As a former army medic and public defender, he has a militant attention to detail and passion for criminal defense that can prove useful to a comprehensive fraud defense strategy. To find out more information about what Andrew D. Stine, P.A. can do for your real estate fraud or mortgage fraud case in the Palm Beach County area, call 561.880.4300 today and schedule your free initial case consultation.
Real Estate and Mortgage Fraud in Florida Defined
The most common real estate and mortgage fraud cases in Florida involve nominee loans (also known as straw buyer loans) and inflated appraisals. A straw buyer loan is when a qualified person applies for a loan on behalf of an investor who otherwise doesn’t qualify. Inflated appraisals occur when the property in question is sold and repurchased several times, each time at a higher price through the use of corrupt appraisers, title companies, and other involved persons. Obtaining a mortgage, mortgage note, promissory note, or other means for purchasing property through false representation or pretenses with the intent to defraud, such as in a case of a nominee or straw buyer loan, is illegal under Fla. Stat. § 817.54.
Mortgage fraud as on offense in general is governed by Fla. Stat. § 817.545. Under this law, it is important to note that the phrase “mortgage lending process” includes the solicitation, application, origination, negotiation of terms, third-party provider services, and the underwriting, signing, closing, and funding of the loan. Documents subject to fraud in this process include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Inspection reports
- Uniform residential loan applications
- Other loan applications
- Appraisal reports
- HUD-1 settlement statements
- Supporting personal documentation for loan applications (i.e. W-2 forms and credit reports)
- Any required disclosures
This statute defines mortgage fraud as when a person knowingly, with the intent to defraud, makes, uses, or facilitates the use of any material misstatement, misrepresentation, or omission during the mortgage process when that misstatement, misrepresentation, or omission will be relied on by a mortgage lender, borrower, or any other party involved in the mortgage lending process.
It is also an offense of mortgage fraud to file, or cause to be filed, a document in the mortgage lending process with the clerk of the circuit court which contains a material misstatement, misrepresentation, or omission, or to receive any proceeds other than funds related to the mortgage lending process that you knew resulted from a mortgage fraud violation. Fraudulently obtaining a mortgage and general mortgage fraud are both felonies. It is strongly recommended you work with an experienced real estate and mortgage fraud defense attorney to defend your rights, your assets, and your future when charged with such an offense.
Florida Penalties for West Palm Beach Mortgage Fraud
According to Florida law, obtaining a mortgage, mortgage note, promissory note, or other form of property loan by false representation is a third-degree felony punishable as provided in Fla. Stat. §§ 775.082-775.084. Under these statutes, third-degree felony fraudulent obtaining of a mortgage carries up to five years in prison and/or up to a $5,000 fine. General mortgage fraud is also a third-degree felony with a maximum punishment of five years and $5,000.
Mortgage fraud becomes a second-degree felony offense if the loan value stated on the documents in the mortgage lending process exceeds $100,000. Second-degree felony mortgage fraud in Florida is punishable by up to 15 years in prison and/or up to a $10,000 fine. All Florida felonies also come with additional sanctions like the loss of certain civil rights, such as the right to vote, and the inability to pursue certain educational and professional opportunities. Additionally, most mortgage fraud or real estate fraud cases are charged in conjunction with a money laundering or other fraud charge. An experienced Palm Beach County fraud defense lawyer can fight to protect your rights and achieve a favorable outcome for both charges.
Andrew D. Stine, P.A. | Defense Lawyer for Palm Beach County Real Estate and Mortgage Fraud
If you have been arrested and charged with real estate and mortgage fraud in Palm Beach County, including West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Boynton Beach, Delray Beach, Greenacres, Jupiter, Lake Park, Lantana, North Palm Beach, Pahokee, Palm Beach, Palm Springs, Tequesta, and the surrounding areas, contact Andrew D. Stine, P.A. as soon as possible after your arrest. Andrew Stine has over 10 years of criminal defense experience and is a skilled and knowledgeable West Palm Beach fraud defense attorney with a militant attention to detail. Your first consultation with Andrew D. Stine, P.A. is free, so call 561.880.4300 today and schedule yours.