This is the second post in a four-part series that looks at some recent headline-grabbing stories in the world of federal sentencing. Although various limits and recommendations exist to help guide sentence decisions, federal judges are ultimately empowered to choose an appropriate punishment. That discretion is sometimes a tool for carefully tailored justice - but it also raises serious concerns in other cases.
A large group in Las Vegas used Home Owners Associations to commit a variety of crimes, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Metro Police. Part of the plan included making phony or questionable condominium purchases to get members of the conspiracy in place to serve on HOA boards. The HOA board elections were reportedly rigged. Once in place, the phony condo owners would funnel HOA funds to private attorneys, property management companies and construction companies.
Six people are facing charges related to allegations that they bought homes and, through misrepresentation, secured overly large loans. The alleged mortgage fraud scheme is said to have defrauded real estate investors and banks out of nearly $6 million. The arrests are the latest result of an investigation that began in 2007 in which several straw buyers and an account were arrested in connection with the group's activities.
Several properties northwest Florida were supposed to be part of a real estate development project known as Riverwalk. The subdivision never happened and nine people involved in the project have now been indicted for mortgage fraud schemes involving the land. The group faces lengthy sentences in federal prison and massive fines if convicted of the charges. Among the crimes alleged to have occurred are conspiracy to commit bank fraud, bank fraud, conspiracy to commit mail fraud, mail fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering.
Prominent Florida real estate investor Sonny Kim was sentenced to 41 months in federal prison and ordered to pay back more than $5 million in proceeds generated from his illegal activities. The mortgage fraud scheme included elements of mail fraud, bank fraud, wire fraud and money laundering that led Kim to plead guilty in U.S. District Court. The conviction is part of a wide ranging effort by state and federal authorities to curtail rampant mortgage fraud throughout the state.
More than one-quarter of reported loans that were investigated for fraud in the United States in 2010 originated in Florida. Mortgage fraud rates in the state were roughly three times the expected rate last year. Accusations of misrepresentation and fraud in the mortgage industry are high all over the nation, but nowhere is the problem receiving more attention from law enforcement than in Florida.
The federal government expends significant resources investigating and prosecuting cases involving housing industry crime. Anyone thought to be involved in a scheme to defraud a bank or other party to a mortgage may find themselves charged in federal court. A person accused of mortgage fraud, bank fraud or real estate fraud faces severe penalties if convicted.
In light of the current mortgage crisis, government authorities have been putting a great deal of focus on real estate fraud enforcement. Thus, the consequences of being accused and convicted of this crime can be quite great. Recently, authorities have brought charges against a Florida man in connection to an alleged instance of mortgage fraud.
Government authorities have recently been very aggressive in their pursuit of mortgage fraud. One example of this is the recent arrest of a Florida man in connection to an alleged mortgage fraud scheme.
There has recently been a lot of attention given to mortgage and real estate fraud in Florida. Stories of alleged fraud appear regularly in both the national and Florida media. An example of such a story is the recent arrest of a Florida man for real estate fraud.