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Hinton & Bailey LLP

Mortgage Fraud

houston MORTGAGE FRAUD ATTORNEYS

While the real estate market has begun recovering from the crash, many homeowners continue to struggle with the threat of foreclosure. The risk of becoming the victim of mortgage fraud looms large even for first-time homebuyers. Indeed, dishonest mortgage service companies and lenders can take advantage of homeowners and would-be buyers in these desperate times.  However, many mortgage service companies and other bank employees have been wrongly implicated in mortgage fraud schemes.

According to the federal government, mortgage fraud involves specific acts that attempt to defraud or deceive a homeowner or homebuyer. With the many pending foreclosures and bank-owned properties across the state of Texas, it’s not surprising that prosecutors’ offices need to find someone to blame. Prosecutors and judges in state court as well as federal court approach white collar criminal offenses very seriously.

If you have been accused of mortgage fraud in Texas on a state or federal level you shouldn’t have to go through this complicated process on your own. You need to have experienced legal counsel on your side. The dedicated Houston mortgage fraud attorneys at Hinton & Bailey have more than four decades of combined experience in Texas criminal defense matters as well as representation on a federal scale.  Contact our office today to learn more about how we can help with your mortgage fraud defense.

Understanding  Mortgage Fraud

Have you been charged with mortgage fraud? It’s important to understand the elements of mortgage fraud when you’ve been accused of this offense.  First, this is a crime that takes place during the mortgage lending process. The Texas Statutes define the mortgage lending process as one in which a “person seeks or obtains a residential mortgage loan.” It can refer to various stages in this process, including but not limited to loan applications, mortgages, deeds, inspections, and appraisals.

In short, the crime of mortgage fraud typically involves an intent to defraud and a material misstatement, misrepresentation, or omission that takes place during the mortgage lending process. The laws surrounding federal mortgage fraud and mortgage fraud in the state of Texas are very complex, and it’s important to discuss your case with an experienced Texas mortgage fraud lawyer.

Elements of Mortgage Fraud in Houston

Under the Texas Statutes, a person commits mortgage fraud if:

  • The person has an intent to defraud; and
  • The person knowingly makes “any material misstatement, misrepresentation, or omission during the mortgage lending process with the intention that the misstatement, misrepresentation, or omission will be relied upon by a mortgage lender, borrower, or any other person or entity involved in the mortgage lending process”;
  • The person knowingly “uses or facilitates the use of any material misstatement, misrepresentation, or omission during the mortgage lending process”;
  • The person receives compensation connected with a material misstatement, misrepresentation, or omission during the mortgage lending process; or
  • The person is involved in the filing of a mortgage document that contains a material misstatement, misrepresentation, or omission.

Under federal law, the punishment for a conviction of mortgage fraud can be up to 30 years in federal prison, up to a $1,000,000 fine, or both. Many different statutes can be used to prosecute mortgage fraud. On the federal level, a person can commit mortgage fraud by doing any of the following:

  •  The person makes any misrepresentation, misstatement, or omission knowing it to be false for the purposes of receiving a mortgage.
  • Using false identification to receive a mortgage
  • Wilfully over-value any land or assets to obtain a mortgage
  • Using a false Social Security number, name, or address to get a mortgage
  • Using the mail or any wire service to aid in perpetrating mortgage fraud

Contact a Houston Mortgage Fraud Attorney

When you have been charged with mortgage fraud on a state or federal level in Texas, it’s extremely important to discuss your case with an experienced Texas mortgage fraud attorney.  Each case is different, and the laws governing mortgage fraud can be very complicated. Contact the law office of Hinton & Bailey today to speak to a Houston criminal defense lawyer about your case.