The rapid growth of mortgage fraud in the past few years has made it so law enforcement is cracking down on these instances. If accused of mortgage fraud, you must understand the consequences you can face, as this crime is not something you should take lightly. Keep reading to learn more about how this occurs and what you can do if you’re facing charges. You’ll also discover how a Houston white collar crimes defense attorney can help you navigate this situation if facing a criminal charge.
What Is Mortgage Fraud?
Mortgage fraud is a broad term for several illegal activities that impact purchasing a home. Generally, it is committed by buyers who cannot obtain a loan for housing or brokers who misrepresent the home’s value to receive a larger portion of the funds.
For example, if a buyer is looking to purchase a home but does not have good credit to secure a loan, they may misrepresent their income to make it seem like they earn more to receive a better loan offer. Another type of mortgage fraud is when a buyer lies about the purpose of the property. Known as occupancy fraud, a buyer tells the lender that they plan to live in the home when in reality, they plan to rent it out. This is because those who try to rent properties often face higher interest rates.
However, buyers are not the only entities that are responsible for mortgage fraud. Often brokers, appraisers, and other industry professionals will work together to misuse the lending process.
What Are the Penalties for This Offense?
In Texas, the penalties for committing mortgage fraud are intense and harsh. In most all instances, this is charged as a felony. However, the severity of the charge depends on the circumstances surrounding the offense, mainly on the monetary value. The consequences of mortgage fraud include the following:
- Fraud valued between $2,500 and $30,000 warrants a state jail felony with prison time of up to 180 days and a $10,000 fine.
- Fraud valued between $30,000 and $150,000 warrants a third-degree felony with prison time of two to ten years and a $10,000 fine
- Fraud valued between $150,000 and $300,000 warrants a second-degree felony with prison time of two to twenty years and a $10,000 fine
- Fraud valued over $300,000 warrants a first-degree felony with prison time of five to ninety-nine years and a $10,000 fine
As you can be charged with a felony, it’s essential to understand the importance of contacting an experienced defense attorney. At the Gonzalez Law Group, our dedicated criminal defense attorneys can help you through the process of defending yourself in a court of law. We will work tirelessly to explore all avenues for a defense to fight for the best possible outcome for your circumstances. Contact us today to learn how we can help you through these challenging times.