Mortgage fraud is a fraudulent action occurring in connection to the sale, purchase, rental or financing of a property.
The term “mortgage fraud” is broad, covering many unlawful acts with varying punishments.
What are some examples of mortgage fraud?
The most common actions that may lead to mortgage or real estate fraud charges include:
- Intentionally omitting information during a lending process
- Making false statements during a lending process
- Providing fraudulent documents to lenders
- Filing documents and receiving funding based on false information
- Knowingly participating in an illegal foreclosure rescue scheme
Mortgage fraud charges do not always require intent. Someone could face a charge even when they did not intend to commit an illegal act, but a conviction is not a guarantee.
What statutes do prosecutors use to charge for mortgage fraud?
California’s Penal Code 487 PC is a commonly used statute for mortgage fraud. It relates to theft by false pretenses. They also sometimes use civil codes, such as foreclosure fraud and rent skimming, to bring charges against someone.
Can you defend yourself against mortgage fraud?
You have the right to defend yourself against mortgage fraud charges, and the court presumes innocence until proven guilty. Prosecutors are responsible for presenting evidence to secure a conviction for mortgage fraud in California. If the proof is weak, that is often the best line of defense. You may also argue that you made an honest mistake.
Many cases end in negotiations for the dismissal or reduction of charges rather than going through a costly trial process.