Frank A. Rubino, ESQ.

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Jury verdict overturned in mortgage fraud case outside Florida

When a person or company is accused of financial wrongdoing, it does not constitute proof of guilt. Sometimes, even after a situation is ruled upon in court, an appeal may be filed that results in a verdict being overturned. This seems to be the case in a situation that occurred outside Florida, regarding a $1.4 billion mortgage fraud penalty involving Bank of America.

Countrywide Financial, a division of Bank of America, was found guilty of selling toxic mortgages during the 2008 economic crisis. However, on a recent Monday, a federal appeals court overturned the jury's 2013 verdict. The court ruled that when one party accuses another of fraud, it must be proved that the defendant's intent at the time of contract was to commit fraud.

The appeals court noted that the mortgages in question had been sold after the acquisition contract between Bank of America and Countrywide Financial was signed. The executive who was ordered to pay the billion plus civil penalty is no longer obligated to do so. The court ruled that prosecutors failed to prove Countrywide made the switch under fraudulent intentions.

Whether in Florida or elsewhere, situations involving federal charges of mortgage fraud are typically complex, and someone without a legal background may lack certain knowledge that can provide clarity under such circumstances. In order to make informed decisions and understand one's rights when facing such charges in court, it is advisable to retain experienced legal representation. In choosing an attorney, one may want to seek assistance from a criminal lawyer who has successfully addressed other high profile financial cases.

Source: therealdeal.com, "Bank of America escapes $1.3B mortgage fraud penalty", May 24, 2016

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