A recent report issued by the Federal Bureau of Investigations shows that Florida is somewhat of a hot spot for mortgage fraud and similar criminal violations. Mortgage fraud can take a variety of forms; as such, it may be difficult to determine whether your actions could potentially violate criminal law. If you are facing accusations of participating in one of the following schemes, you might need the assistance of a criminal defense attorney.

Did you know that property “flipping” can be illegal? Even though most of us are familiar with the idea of purchasing a home, renovating it and selling it in short order — known as flipping — there are some nefarious methods that can push this practice into the realm of illegality. Illegal property flipping occurs when a fraudulent appraisal is obtained before the property is sold to the buyer. An artificially inflated value causes the buyer to be eligible for a larger-than-normal loan value. Transactions that involve the sale of a property twice on the same day are often considered suspect and may be investigated for illegal flipping.

Mortgage loan application fraud can also occur when one party falsifies an unqualified buyer’s credentials in order to meet application terms. In some cases, mortgage applicants falsify their own income statements, and fraudulent assets may be created. Credit reports are also often altered when application fraud occurs; this process is commonly known as a “backwards application scheme.”

Changing small bits of information on your mortgage application may not seem like a big violation — after all, you are just wanting that extra “push” to help you obtain the home of your dreams. However, falsifying information on your mortgage loan application is illegal, and it could lead to dire consequences. Those who are accused of this type of white collar crime may benefit from the assistance of a criminal defense attorney.

Source: Federal Bureau of Investigations, “2010 Mortgage Fraud Report” Aug. 25, 2014

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