Los Angeles Criminal Law Blog


Mortgage Fraud Crimes

Posted on: November 19, 2009 at 5:55 p.m.

Not all crimes in Los Angeles involve the use of violent force. While violent criminals accused of such crimes as assault or theft are generally apprehended by police officers in blue uniforms, people who commit crimes such as fraud are usually arrested by federal agents in white shirts and ties, hence the name white collar crime. As the real estate market in Los Angeles keeps spiraling downward, many people are talking about mortgage fraud crimes. Typical mortgage fraud crimes include the falsification of mortgage loan documents, fraudulently inflating the value of real estate, or, most recently, home loan modification fraud.

It is illegal in Los Angeles to make false statements on a home loan or credit application. Fudging the numbers on reported income, assets or debt has been a frequent practice by loan officers as well as people seeking a home loan in recent years. Whoever misrepresents the financial or identification information on a loan or credit card application could be charged with a federal crime and sent to prison for it.

In some cases, real estate industry insiders in Los Angeles have been caught working together to falsely inflate the value of a residential or commercial property. If banks, real estate agents and appraisers all work together to say a home is worth more than it actually is, and someone actually buys the house, they can all make more money, right? Well, they can also all go to prison together for fraud. White collar crime is in the news quite a bit lately, and this could add the further complication of a biased jury.

As the local economy in Los Angeles continues to be affected by high unemployment and job losses, many people are turning to mortgage loan modification to avoid foreclosure on their homes. While home loan modification is a legitimate path to stabilizing your finances, several unscrupulous loan modification organizations have sprung up to take advantage of desperate people. Some mortgage loan modification organizations actually ask homeowners in need of help to send their mortgage payments to a third party. Trusting homeowners usually find out a few months down the line that their supposed mortgage payments never actually got to their lenders and now they are in an even more precarious position.

Note that none of these white collar crimes involved the use of physical force, but all of them could enormously damage the lives of others. White collar crimes may seem less important or less serious than violent crimes such as assault or murder, but being convicted of a crime such as fraud in Los Angeles is still a very serious matter. If convicted, you could be fined up to $1,000,000 and sent to a federal prison for up to 30 years.

If you have been charged with a white collar crime, call the criminal defense attorneys at Kestenbaum, Eisner & Gorin, LLP today. With your whole future on the line, you need an attorney experienced in defending these type of charges. Let us fight for you.

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Comments:

Vincent Palladino (UCLA) on December 9, 2009 at 3 a.m. wrote:

In addition to being a student, I also work as an intern at an elected official’s office where I handle constituent services, including answering phone calls. One of the most common phone calls I receive is complaints regarding mortgage fraud. From foreclosure frauds to subprime shenanigans, mortgage fraud is a growing crime threat that is hurting homeowners, businesses, and the national economy. The FBI reports that the estimated annual loss due to mortgage fraud is from $4 billion to $6 billion! Most recently, five people were indicted on charges of participating in a $14.6 million mortgage-fraud plot that resulted in at least 35 fraudulent mortgage loans. The defendants are charged with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering. With efforts to address this problem, President Obama established the Interagency Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force a couple weeks ago to strengthen efforts to find and halt financial crime. The Department of Justice heads the effort, which the agency said weds multiple federal and state agencies, law enforcement and regulatory authorities and other partners to investigate major financial crimes.









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