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Do you understand the details of mortgage fraud?

Mortgage fraud consists of many types of schemes, all of which involve some type of misstatement associated with mortgage documents or the buying/selling process.

For example, a homebuyer may use false or altered financial statements to improve their chance of receiving a mortgage.

Unfortunately, there are times when people commit mortgage fraud when they don't really know what they are doing. Adding to this is the fact that the penalty for a mortgage fraud conviction can be quite steep.

With the passing of the Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act (FERA) in 2009, federal law enforcement officials have more power with regard to enforcing mortgage fraud laws. For example, a conviction under this act could lead to a prison sentence of up to 30 years along with fines as high as $1 million.

There are many types of mortgage fraud, including but not limited to:

-- The use of fraudulent loan documentation

-- Stolen identity

-- Equity skimming

-- Inflated appraisal

As you can imagine, many parties in the home buying process could get tangled up in a mortgage fraud scheme. For example, with an inflated appraisal, the appraiser works with the mortgage broker or lender to ensure that the buyer's offer is enough to make the deal go through.

Due to the seriousness of mortgage fraud, you never want to waste any time if you're charged with this serious white collar crime. As noted above, the punishment can be extreme.

With the right defense strategy in place, you'll find yourself in position to prove that you are innocent with the hope of avoiding punishment.

Source: FindLaw, "Mortgage Fraud," accessed April 27, 2017

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