The mortgage crisis that has engulfed the United States in recent years has led to an increasing number of charges and prosecutions of mortgage fraud in New Jersey. There are many levels of charges concerning mortgage fraud. Charges of people or companies due to mortgage fraud can include the following allegations:
- False statements being placed on an application for a mortgage or to complete a refinance;
- Being the front person in a plot to purchase property and spin it to sell quickly in an attempt to turn a profit;
- Giving appraisals that are false or escalated in comparison to an evenhanded judgment of the value of the property;
- Violation of state and federal laws of disclosure by agents, lenders and brokers;
- False statements on an insurance application or a title insurance; and
- Predatory lending practices.
Fines and Jail Terms for Mortgage Fraud
As the number of people who were profiting from the commissions on mortgages grew, the abuses also rose along with them. People were encouraged to make verbal statements as to their incomes and ability to pay for a mortgage and were given the loans to purchase homes that they could scarcely afford. Those not seeking to purchase a home were lured in by extremely low rates to refinance. The system was wide open for abuse and numerous people had their hands in the attempts to make money, purchase a home, sell a home and earn hefty rates for sales.
Cases involving mortgage fraud will generally include theft by deception by the person who is being prosecuted. This involves obtaining a property by deceiving another into believing the intentions are for charitable or otherwise aboveboard purposes and proven by the promise not being kept. It is also deception if the defendant prevented others from receiving information that would be viewed as influencing the judgment of that transaction, or if he or she failed to correct a false impression provided.
These types of crimes are categorized based on the amount of money that was involved. Most mortgage fraud cases involve amounts of money in excess of $75,000, making it a crime in the second degree in New Jersey. This can result in a fine of up to $150,000 and a prison sentence of between five and ten years.
In order for mortgage fraud to be a crime in the third degree, the amount of money involved in the fraud must be over $500, but not more than $75,000. This comes along with a fine of up to $15,000 and a prison sentence of between three and five years. A fourth degree crime involves an amount between $200 and $500 with potential jail time of 18 months and as much as a $10,000 fine.
Depending on the circumstances of the transactions and if a person deemed as reasonable should have known that a criminal activity was involved, mortgage fraud can also turn into a charge of money laundering and grow more serious with severe penalties.
Contact a Lawyer for Help with Charges of Mortgage Fraud
If you have been charged with mortgage fraud in New Jersey, it can be a frightening and intimidating experience. Contacting a qualified attorney from Villani & DeLuca in Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey is a wise decision to protect your interests. People charged with mortgage fraud can have extended legal issues, costly fines and perhaps even jail sentences. It's imperative to speak to an attorney. The attorneys at Villani & DeLuca can assist you with understanding the charges and your options. Call Villani & DeLuca today to discuss your case.