In the State of New York, residential mortgage fraud is a crime related to creating or providing a written document that contains materially false or misleading information for the purpose of obtaining a mortgage loan. Depending on the level of involvement an individual has in a residential mortgage scheme, charges range from a misdemeanor to a felony with a maximum punishment of 25 years in prison.
Heiferman & Associates, PLLC is a premier criminal defense law firm with vast experience in representing defendants in white-collar cases such as those charged with mortgage fraud. Our attorneys have experience prosecuting and defending white-collar crimes and will aggressively fight to protect your rights through all stages of your case.
Residential Mortgage Fraud Defined
New York statute defines residential mortgage fraud as knowingly and with the intent to defraud, providing a written document that contains a materially false statement or conceals a material fact, with the knowledge that the document will be used in connection with a mortgage loan.
Common Examples of Mortgage Fraud
- Inflating the value of assets held or overstating income to qualify for a loan
- Stealing the identity of an unknowing third party to obtain a loan in his or her name
- Indicating a residence will be owner-occupied when the applicant does not intend to occupy the residence
- Quick flips, whereby investors purchase property at low prices and resell for much higher amounts without improving the property, usually relying on a fraudulent appraisal
- Selling property without holding title to the property sold
- Schemes to create fake buyers/borrowers, chains of title, and other acts to replicate a home purchase without actually purchasing any property
Various Degrees of the Crime
The seriousness of the crime of residential mortgage fraud varies depending on the amount of proceeds of a loan in relation to mortgage fraud.
Residential mortgage fraud in the fifth degree
A person who commits mortgage fraud and receives loan proceeds of less than $1,000 is guilty of mortgage fraud in the fifth degree, a class A misdemeanor. Class A misdemeanors are punishable by up to imprisonment 364 days and a fine of no more than $1,000.
Residential mortgage fraud in the fourth degree
A person who commits residential mortgage fraud and receives loan proceeds greater than $1,000 is guilty of mortgage fraud in the fourth degree, a class E felony. Class E felonies are punishable by imprisonment of no more than 4 years and a fine of no more than double the amount gained from the crime.
Residential mortgage fraud in the third degree
A person who commits residential mortgage fraud and receives loan proceeds greater than $3,000 is guilty of mortgage fraud in the third degree, a class D felony. Class D felonies are punishable by imprisonment of no more than 7 years and a fine of no more than double the amount gained from the crime.
Residential mortgage fraud in the second degree
A person that commits residential mortgage fraud and receives loan proceeds greater than $50,000 is guilty of mortgage fraud in the second degree, a class C felony. Class C felonies are punishable by imprisonment of no more than 15 years and a fine of no more than double the amount gained from the crime.
Residential mortgage fraud in the first degree
A person who commits residential mortgage fraud and receives loan proceeds greater than $1,000,000 is guilty of mortgage fraud in the first degree, a class B felony. Class B felonies are punishable by imprisonment of no more than 25 years and a fine of no more than double the amount gained from the crime.
The residential mortgage fraud statute provides that any individual who intends to occupy the residential property securing the mortgage obtained through fraud cannot be prosecuted. Accordingly, a person who lied about his or her income on a mortgage application for a home he or she intends to occupy will not be prosecuted for mortgage fraud. However, an occupant may be prosecuted as an accessory to mortgage fraud even if he or she occupies the residence.
Lack of Intent
Mortgage fraud requires the intent to defraud a lender or other party providing loan funds. This means a defendant is not guilty of mortgage fraud if he or she did not knowingly provide documents with false or misleading information for the purpose of obtaining a loan or other proceeds.
Related Criminal Charges
Residential mortgage fraud may be closely related to other federal and state criminal charges. There are a number of federal laws that govern real estate settlements, requirements for a closing settlement statement, and the transfer of funds. Additionally, if the United States Postal Service, a wire transfer, or a federally insured bank is used to facilitate the fraud, federal charges may also result.
Additional state-related charges include schemes to defraud, falsifying business records, mail and wire fraud, forgery, possession of a forged instrument and in some cases identity theft.
Contact a Queens Criminal Defense Attorney Today
Residential mortgage fraud is a serious crime that can result in a substantial prison sentence and millions of dollars in fines. If you are charged with mortgage fraud how you respond will determine the outcome of your case. You need the expertise of an experienced law firm to guide you through the criminal process and protect your rights along the way.
At Heiferman & Associates, PLLC, our attorneys have extensive experience in both criminal prosecution and defense of white-collar crimes such as mortgage fraud. We understand New York criminal procedure is complicated and potentially may end up entrapping a defendant who may be in fact a victim. After consulting with you on your case, we can provide representation every step of the way, with the goal of absolving you as a suspect, getting any potential charges dropped or reduced, and if need be representing you in court. As a client of Heiferman & Associates, PLLC you gain a professional on your side, dedicated to obtaining the best outcome for you.