If you’ve been accused of mortgage fraud or federal tax crimes related to real estate fraud, there’s a good chance you’ve fallen victim to an overzealous federal court system. Following the housing bubble, prosecutors were expected to put their best efforts forward when it came to mortgage fraud. Unfortunately, this has led to innocent victims facing federal charges. Having a real estate fraud lawyer on your side is priority number one, but you should also know a few other things about this topic.
What Is Real Estate Fraud?
Real estate fraud is a type of fraud that occurs in real estate transactions. It can take place at any point in the transaction process, including before the sale, during the sale or after the sale. This type of fraud is devastating for both sellers and buyers of property. It can prolong the process of selling a home, lead to a less favorable selling price, and even end in litigation.
The most common types of real estate fraud include:
- False information on listings
- False information on property records
- False representation of property condition
- Misrepresentation by brokers or agents
- Misrepresentation by sellers
Real estate fraud is a serious issue. It can lead to a world of legal trouble, monetary loss, and emotional distress. The best way to avoid it is by educating yourself on the different types of fraud and how to spot them. Contact a mortgage fraud lawyer today to get informed.
Proving Fraud in Real Estate
In a lawsuit, a real estate fraud attorney must prove the following.
- Knowledge of falsity
- Justifiable reliance
- Intent to defraud or induce reliance
- Resulting damage
Real Estate Fraud on the Rise
Real estate fraud is a type of white-collar crime that affects public safety, the lending and banking industries, and homeowners. It includes activities such as forging deeds, falsifying income and employment information on loan applications, inflating appraisals, and more.
If you’re being charged with real estate fraud, it’s essential to understand that you’re not alone. Industry experts said 2021 was likely to have the highest rate of mortgage fraud on record, and it was reported that 0.83% of all mortgage applications contained some sort of fraud—that’s about 1 in every 120 applications. Of course, being accused of a crime and actually having committed it are two different things.
Real estate fraud lawyers have taken note of the alarming trend in federal prosecutions related to mortgages. While fraud prevention is necessary to protect the housing market, it seems as if prosecutors are increasingly going after innocent victims who simply made clerical errors in their financial documents or made a real estate sale to a close friend.
While neither of these instances should warrant a mortgage fraud attorney, you may need one to protect yourself.
Trends As Seen by Real Estate Fraud Lawyers
Whether you talk to a Houston fraud lawyer or a real estate attorney all the way in New York, they’ll tell you that prosecutors seem to be taking advantage of innocent homeowners or sellers who had no intention of committing fraud. Mortgage fraud attorneys have become particularly worried over the number of people being charged with a crime simply because their financial situation changed after filing a home loan application.
Another charge that’s becoming more common is a “Round-Robin trade.” People engaged in this activity are trying to inflate the value of an asset, but in many cases, the government brings this charge forward simply because a person bought or sold a home to someone they know. Again, this isn’t a crime, but federal prosecutors have made cases with far less.
The FBI called real estate fraud one of the fastest-growing white-collar crimes in America, so it’s easy to understand why they’re consistently trying to close cases. Unfortunately, innocent individuals are getting caught up in excessive prosecutorial zeal far more often than should be the case.
What to Do If You’re Charged with Real Estate Fraud
If you’ve already been charged, the first thing you need to do is contact a real estate fraud lawyer immediately. Legal professionals can look at the specifics of your case and figure out the best course of action. Regardless of what federal prosecutors say about your actions, showing that there was a lack of intent to defraud is all that’s necessary for an acquittal.
It’s also important to point out that there is a fine line between what’s illegal and legal in the real estate world. If you “flip” houses, for instance, the difference between facing charges or not could be dependent on a prosecutor’s view on the quality of repairs you provided before selling the home. If you’re facing indictment on real estate fraud, collect all your financial documents and contact a nationwide federal criminal defense attorney today.
Contact the Law Offices of Kretzer & Volberding P.C.
The real estate fraud penalties can be severe if you are found guilty of this crime. You could face jail time, fines, and restitution, as well as a damaged credit history which makes it difficult to buy a home. Hiring an experienced real estate fraud attorney can help you avoid these consequences by providing legal guidance throughout the process.
If you’re seeking a mortgage fraud lawyer, you might just be the victim of an overzealous federal prosecutor. Changes in your financial situation or a simple lack of knowledge related to the law shouldn’t ruin your life. If you’ve been charged with real estate fraud, contact us today to learn about your options.