Frank A. Rubino, ESQ.

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Mortgage fraud seems to be on the rise in Florida and elsewhere

A recent article discussed an issue that might pertain to some Florida residents. At hand is the topic of primary residency; some people buying homes seem to be engaged in a method of obtaining lower down payments and interest rates that is otherwise not considered legally acceptable. Apparently, this type of mortgage fraud seems to be on the rise across the nation.

One of the questions commonly asked of those who are purchasing a home is whether they plan to occupy the dwelling they are purchasing on a full-time, primary basis. Apparently, the industry has seen an increase in many potential home buyers telling lenders that they plan to use the house or dwelling they are buying as a primary residence; in fact, they do not plan to do so. Applicants accused of doing this are reportedly acting under a motive whereby they seek to obtain lower down payments and/or mortgage interest rates.

Between 2011 and 2013, occupant misrepresentation reportedly rose as much as 20 percent. The president of one mortgage group said that he encounters this type of fraud as many as two times per month. Being less than forthright about plans to occupy a dwelling is said to be a frequent temptation for those who plan to buy and refurbish, then resell the property. Doing so is said to lower down payments as much as 7 percent in some cases.

Misrepresentation of occupancy is considered mortgage fraud and is illegal in Florida and throughout the nation. Those who stand accused of this type of crime or other offenses related to the buying and/or selling of properties might find themselves in need of legal advice. A criminal lawyer with experience in mortgage fraud cases would most likely be up to date on current laws and regulations and would be able to offer advice and ongoing support with regard to an individual case.

Source: columbian.com, "Harney: Lenders go high-tech to spot liars", Kenneth R. Harney, July 6, 2015

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