Mortgage fraud and other fraud offenses including real estate transactions
are crimes under both Florida and Federal law. Generally described as
“mortgage fraud,” this offense generally applies to anyone
who makes any false statement regarding income, assets, debt, property
value, matters of identification, or any other material information in
connection with a loan and credit application for the purpose of influencing
in any way a financial institution contracted to lend money for the purchase,
transfer, or refinancing of the property. Mortgage fraud offenses typically
involve applicants, real estate agents/brokers, appraisers, bankers, developers
lawyers, or any combination of the them, if they are found to be working
together to defraud a lender related to a property transaction.
Under Federal Law, conviction for any Mortgage fraud is a felony and may
be punishable by a fine not to exceed $1,000,000 and/or a term of imprisonment
not to exceed 30 years.
Federal Law even allows for a criminal charge of “Continuing Financial
Crimes Enterprise” for mortgage fraud. As such, one who organizes,
manages, or supervises a continuing financial crimes enterprise and receives
$5,000,000 or more in gross receipts from such enterprise during any 24-month
period has committed a felony crime of continuing a financial crimes enterprise.
Conviction of this offense is punishable by a fine not to exceed $10,000,000,
if an individual, or $20,000,000, if an organization, and/or a term of
imprisonment of no less than 10 years up to LIFE.
Under Florida Law, conviction for Mortgage Fraud is a felony of third degree
and is punishable by a fine not to exceed $5,000 and/or a term of imprisonment
not to exceed 5 years.
However, if the loan value stated on the documents used in the mortgage
lending process exceeds $100,000, the violator has committed a felony
of the second degree. Conviction of this offense is punishable by a fine
not to exceed $10,000 and/or a term of imprisonment not to exceed to 15
years. It is also important to note that any real estate or mortgage fraud
that is a continuing scheme may be charged as a scheme to defraud under
Florida’s “Communication Fraud Act.” Penalties for a
conviction under this Act are much more severe.
Attorney Paul Petruzzi has over 22 years of experience defending those
charged with mortgage and/or real estate fraud offenses and he has represented
many clients charged with, or under investigation for, these offenses.
It is important to hire an experienced attorney when faced with this type
of charge. Attorney Paul Petruzzi’s knowledge and expertise in this
field of law is a vital asset to anyone charged with these crimes. Call
today for a free consultation.