Federal Mortgage Fraud Defense Attorney Los Angeles
The FBI and other federal agencies are investigating mortgage fraud more aggressively than they used to. That is why any allegation or threat that someone has materially misrepresented or omitted information in connection with a mortgage loan application involves serious potential criminal penalties. Federal mortgage fraud convictions can result in prison sentences as long as 30 years.
Federal court is different. It has different judges, prosecutors, juries and rules than California state courts, where most criminal charges are handled. At the Law Offices of Jerod Gunsberg, we use our detailed knowledge of federal courts in Los Angeles, Santa Ana (Orange County), Riverside, and San Bernardino to aggressively defend anyone who has been charged with or is under investigation for committing mortgage fraud or for having any involvement with a conspiracy to commit mortgage fraud.
Defending Mortgage Fraud Charges
Many people mistakenly believe that mortgage fraud only involves the person who signs the mortgage application or otherwise seeks mortgage financing. While many federal cases are brought against the applicant, anyone involved in the mortgage application process can be in jeopardy. This includes bank loan officers, appraisers, employers, or anyone else who provides information that is used as part of the mortgage application. If federal agents and prosecutors conclude that the information was false and was provided with an intent to obtain a higher loan amount, or to obtain a mortgage that would otherwise be denied, a potential federal mortgage charge may be brought.
Because mortgage fraud focuses on the information that is presented on a mortgage application, it comes in many varieties. It can, for example, involve allegations that the application lied about their income, the appraisal value of the property was falsified, the applicant lied about whether the property was intended to be a residence or an investment, or that the applicant’s employment status or history was faked or materially exaggerated. Mortgage fraud charges are also brought when prosecutors believe that the purchase price was inflated and that the applicant has agreed to provide some of the loan proceeds to a third party in the form of a kick back. These are just some of the situations that lead prosecutors to bring federal mortgage fraud charges.
Although mortgage fraud can take place in different ways, two issues are often at the heart of defending a federal mortgage fraud charge. First, can the prosecutors prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the person charged with mortgage fraud intended to deceive to gain some financial advantage? Second, was the information on the mortgage application and supporting documents materially incorrect? To be convicted of mortgage fraud, prosecutors must show more that the information was incorrect. Someone who misstates his or her income by a trivial amount would not be guilty of mortgage fraud. The incorrect information must be important enough that it would have led the lender to either reject the mortgage application or make some other materially different decision. Defending a mortgage fraud case therefore involves challenging the evidence that federal agents and prosecutors rely upon to conclude an intent to commit fraud.
Mortgage Fraud and Other Federal Crimes
People who are accused of mortgage fraud are generally charged with a combination of the following federal crimes: Mail fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy, bank fraud, and money laundering. These crimes involve generally innocent behavior, such as mailing a letter or making a long-distance phone call. Much of the evidence in mortgage fraud cases involves email communications and written documents. It is therefore important that people not speak to federal agents before speaking with an experienced federal criminal defense attorney. Federal prisons are full of people who were told by the FBI that they were only witnesses in an investigation. And as with other federal crimes, federal agents and prosecutors are particularly interested in conspiracy cases that involve large numbers of people.
WHY AN EXPERIENCED FEDERAL MORTGAGE FRAUD DEFENSE LAWYER CAN HELP
Given how extreme the potential punishments are under federal law for mortgage fraud, it is critical that you work with an experienced federal defense lawyer. Whether your situation involves the FBI or any other federal agency, or whether you may only be a “witness” in a mortgage fraud case, or whether you have been accused of being more actively involved in a federal mortgage fraud conspiracy, the Law Offices of Jerod Gunsberg will aggressively defend any mortgage fraud-related charge based on our extensive experience in the Federal courts in Los Angeles, Orange County, and Riverside.