With millions of dollars in real estate transactions on a regular basis, Florida and neighboring southern states have long faced financial crimes related to the buying and selling of homes. Authorities actively pursue every possible avenue to anticipate and preclude those crimes. When that isn’t possible, they aggressively prosecute any alleged incidents that they are aware of. This was the case recently, with seven Florida residents being accused of mortgage fraud.

The seven defendants in the case are from Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Land O’Lakes, and Tampa. They range in age from 51 to 77. Accusations against them include that they used straw buyers and shell companies to buy lots in the Hampton Springs development. If those accusations are proven in court, each of them could face sentences of up to 30 years and million dollar fines.

The development was featured in a story published in the Tampa Bay Times several years ago. It is on a mountain in the Big Ridge area, which is close to the popular resort community of Cashiers. Many Floridians maintain summer homes there.

The defendants have been accused of securing construction mortgages with fraudulent loan applications. The mortgages, obtained between 2003 and 2008, totaled at approximately $50 million. They were granted by Regions Bank, SunTrust, Bank of America, and Wachovia.

The defendants in this case, like anyone accused of mortgage fraud, will be best served by obtaining capable attorneys with experience in this area of law. Because the penalties for mortgage fraud can be so stiff, anyone facing accusations in a case like this is advised to secure representation right away. This way, they can begin to build a strong defense.

Source: Tampa Bay Times, “7 Florida residents charged in connection to North Carolina mortgage fraud scheme” Lucy Morgan, Jan. 10, 2014

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