Mortgage Fraud has taken center stage in Westchester County Courts and around New York State. This national problem has taken on extra prominence in New York where property values are high. As a criminal defense law firm that has handled many mortgage fraud cases including headline making cases we are seeing an increased number of cases and increased enforcement by law enforcement authorities.
Indeed, in connection with a high profile mortgage fraud case that this firm is involved with, the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office announced the formation of a Mortgage Fraud Unit to investigate and prosecute mortgage fraud in Westchester County. The Westchester County case resulted in the arrest of 8 people, 6 of whom were mortgage professionals and two attorneys.
Mortgage Fraud can take on many different flavors. The Westchester case is alleged to involve “Equity Stripping” which is a way of stealing the equity from a person facing foreclosure. Other cases can involve appraisal fraud, falsely preparing mortgage applications, using straw buyers with good credit to purchase properties, “flipping” properties from one buyer to another, identity theft or a combination of these practices.
The bottom line is that what was tolerated as normal practice several years ago by the banks is now considered fraud once the bank loses money because of a foreclosure or bankruptcy. While banks in the past encouraged “fraud” by loans that promised “no documentation”, “light documentation” or “stated income”, today they complain that the information they received from borrowers was not accurate.
In addition, victims of mortgage fraud and/or identity theft can have a difficult time navigating through the maze of legal issues related to resolving credit issues and resolving title issues.
These cases can become very complex. Whether you are the victim of mortgage fraud or are suspected of or accused of mortgage fraud, contact us, to speak to an experienced criminal attorney that has specific experience handling New York mortgage fraud cases or Federal mortgage fraud cases.