Buying any piece of real estate is a complicated process that is full of many twists and turns. For this reason, it's not out of the question that you could make a mistake that results in criminal charges.
For example, mortgage fraud is a serious crime that carries serious consequences in the event of a conviction. For this reason, you should become familiar with the most common types of mortgage fraud:
- Fraudulent loan documentation: You need to be 100 percent honest when submitting loan documentation, such as pay stubs, tax returns and other financial information. Forging or altering this documentation can result in trouble.
- Stolen identity: You should only use your name and personal information when applying for a mortgage. Using a stolen or fictitious identity is against the law.
- Inflated appraisal: This doesn't typically come into play from the buyer's perspective. Instead, it's when an appraiser and loan officer work together to place a high appraisal value on the property, all with the idea of making it easier to complete the deal.
While these aren't the only forms of mortgage fraud, they're among the most common.
It's important to understand what you can and can't do when buying real estate (or working in the industry).
If you're charged with any form of mortgage fraud, don't waste a single minute learning what went wrong and why you're in this position.
Once you understand the criminal charges, you can then learn more about the laws pertaining to mortgage fraud, the best defense strategy and the steps you need to take in the immediate future.
Source: FindLaw, "Mortgage Fraud," accessed April 19, 2018