Bank Fraud Lawyer San Francisco, CA
Anyone who has ever gone through the process of applying for a mortgage in California can attest to how complicated and drawn out the process can be. Unfortunately, this complex process can and does lead to mistakes and errors made by applicants. In some cases, these errors can result in the applicant being accused of mortgage fraud. If you are being investigated or have been charged, you need to contact a San Francisco, CA bank fraud lawyer right away to find out what legal options you may have.
What Is Mortgage Fraud?
Just like most bank fraud crimes, mortgage fraud is charged as a federal crime, in most cases. The FBI, which investigates mortgage fraud, defines this type of crime as a “material misstatement, misrepresentation, or omission in relation to a mortgage loan that is then relied upon by a lending bank.” In other words, any false statement an applicant makes that would influence a bank’s decision to grant the mortgage can be charged as mortgage fraud.
As a bank fraud lawyer in San Francisco, CA can explain, the majority of mortgage fraud cases involve falsifying income, assets, or identity. There are a variety of different types of mortgage fraud scenarios that the FBI will prosecute for, however, the following are the most common that take place.
- Occupancy fraud: This type of mortgage fraud occurs when the buyer/investor wants to get better loan terms that are only available to borrowers of owner-occupied properties. The borrower lies that they will be living in the home, but actually has no intention of doing so.
- Property flipping fraud: Many investors purchase properties, make renovations, and then sell the property at a profit. This is perfectly legal. However, when an investor purchases a property, makes no renovations, gets an appraiser (who is involved in the scheme) to falsely inflate the value of the property, and then sells the property at a profit, it is considered fraud.
- Straw buyer: When a party allows another party to use their identity or obtains a mortgage for another party who would not qualify, this is referred to as a straw buyer scan and is considered mortgage fraud.
It is also important to keep in mind that while the majority of cases involve fraud that is perpetrated by the potential borrower, there have also been many cases prosecuted where the financial institution (through owners, employees, etc.) that is the perpetrator. This is often the case in situations where a homeowner is facing foreclosure or other dire financial issues.
Contact Our Office If You Have Been Charged
If you are facing mortgage fraud charges, contact the Morales Law Firm to ensure your rights are protected. Call our office today to schedule a free consultation with a dedicated San Francisco, CA bank fraud lawyer and let us help defend you against these charges.