Fraud is, generally speaking, not an area that Florida is generally known to have under control. To take just one example, recent data released by LexisNexis Risk Solutions shows that Florida has had the highest incidence of mortgage fraud in the nation for five consecutive years now. Why exactly is the rate of fraud so high in Florida? According to the co-author of the LexisNexis report, it could partly be because of the high concentration of investment properties.
There are various ways folks go about committing mortgage fraud, but one common way is when buyers claim that they are purchasing a home as a primary residence when they are really buying it as an investment. Primary residences have a lower interest rate and a homestead exemption, whereas investment properties don’t, and this is one reason home buyers do this.
The charges associated with mortgage fraud vary, but can include bank fraud, mail fraud, wire fraud, money laundering and equity skimming. Regardless of the specific charges and circumstances of the case, criminal defense is always important to ensure that one’s rights are protected.
There various ways to handle fraud defense, depending on the circumstances of the case. In some instances, the borrower didn’t have criminal intent to defraud, but only acted recklessly or negligently. In terms of mail and wire fraud, prosecutors must be able to show that the mailing or wire was aimed at furthering the fraud scheme, which means the timing of the communication is critical. Similarly, in some fraud cases involve money laundering charges, the timing of the transaction in relation to the fraud scheme is critical. Another issue in fraud cases is whether the fraudulent action of the defendant was material to the lender’s decision to provide the loan. Technical issues like jurisdiction and venue can come up, as well as proper calculation of the loss caused by the fraudulent activity.
All this is to say that securing a strong criminal defense is critical for fraud defendants. The attorneys at our firm are experienced in this area of law and are committed to providing our clients with the best possible advocacy.
Source: Tampa Bay Times, “Florida still No.1 for mortgage fraud, but improving,” Jeff Harrington, Dec. 15, 2014.
www.fd.org, “Defending ‘Mortgage Fraud’ Cases,” Kevin A. Tate, Accessed Dec. 22, 2014.