According to the FBI and the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, a new form of mortgage fraud involving senior citizens is on the rise. Reverse mortgages, which are also known as home equity conversion mortgages, have reportedly increased in frequency in the period between 1999 and 2008. In fact, HUD’s Inspector General’s Office estimates the increase in the number of reverse mortgages to exceed 1,300 percent in growth during that time frame.
Authorities say that legitimate reverse mortgages are federally insured loans that enable borrowers who are at least 62 years old and meet other criteria to utilize the equity in their homes to obtain money while still living in their existing homes. Unfortunately, officials say that some unscrupulous professionals are now seeking to take advantage of senior citizens by claiming to provide reverse mortgages while actually defrauding them.
Authorities say these mortgage fraud schemes include practices offering seniors free homes, investment opportunities and other similar scams in order to use the victims‘ identities, as well as the equity in their homes, to unwittingly purchase other properties and then flip them for profit.
If you are a Florida resident who has been charged with mortgage fraud, then you should know that an experienced legal defense is vital to ensuring that your rights are preserved. In many mortgage fraud cases, the government will rely on testimony and documentary evidence to prove their case against you. You have a constitutionally protected right to challenge all evidence and testimony proffered by the prosecutors.
In criminal prosecutions, there are invariably crucial pieces of evidence that can either support the government’s position toward your guilt or produce reasonable doubt as to your involvement in any crime. That is why it is so important to seek the advice of a legal professional to assist you in identifying those crucial pieces of evidence and attempting to prevent them from being used against you.
Source: Federal Bureau of Investigation-Reverse Mortgage Scams, “Common Fraud Schemes-Target Senior Citizens” Oct. 08, 2014