Sentences have been handed down in the trial for a mortgage fraud case. Three individuals have now been sentenced for operating the scheme, which affected residents of South Florida. The longest sentence went to the ringleader, 64, who got a total of 11 years. He had used his position as a mortgage broker and real estate agent to defraud clients.
The title agent who worked with him, 27, got three years. The title agent, who is the ringleader's nephew, also served as a loan closer on deals. A third individual, 58, was sentenced to four years. She is the mother of the title agent and the sister of the scheme's ringleader, making the overall case a family affair.
Evidence presented during the trial indicated that the three defendants had worked together for some time. They had been accused of operating several different real estate companies at once. According to prosecutors, those real estate companies were repeatedly used to obtain loans in a fraudulent manner.
Prosecutors say that the three used a variety of different tools in the scheme. One was faking employment records. That is typically done in order to secure loans that would not otherwise be available. The premise is that by creating employment records that show a better and more stable employment history, an applicant is made to look more attractive to the banks prospectively originating loans. Other tools included making phony bank statements and false tax returns. These are used to create an impression of higher income, so an applicant for a loan will appear to be able to pay that loan back in a reasonable period of time.
Mortgage fraud cases have become prevalent throughout Florida. Of course, each case is unique and may have any number of mitigating factors. Anyone accused of mortgage fraud has a right to a fair and impartial trial. Experienced criminal defense attorneys ensure that their clients' rights are protected during the court process, which is something that should be guaranteed to all defendants, no matter what the crime.
Source: Miami Herald, "3 sent to prison in Fla. mortgage fraud case" No author given, Nov. 16, 2013