When you’re accused of mortgage fraud, you may not understand the severity of the charges against you. You may not even realize that what you did warrants mortgage fraud! As such, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with what is considered mortgage fraud and the penalties for this offense. Keep reading to learn more about this crime and discover how an Oklahoma City white-collar crime lawyer can help you navigate these charges.
What Is Mortgage Fraud?
Mortgage fraud generally involves an individual or broker who lies about the terms and conditions of a home or their finances to receive a loan they usually would not qualify for.
Fraud for property occurs when a home buyer has poor credit, leading them to lie about their income to receive a better loan, increasing the chances of approval for a new property. On the other hand, fraud for profit occurs when mortgage brokers misuse the lending process to get more equity from lenders by misrepresenting their clients’ income to increase the profits they receive during this transaction.
Another example of fraud that’s quickly becoming one of the most common is occupancy fraud. This occurs when someone willfully misrepresents the purpose of why they are purchasing the property to receive better terms on their loan, such as lower interest rates. For example, they may say they are purchasing the home to live in when they plan on renting the property.
What Penalties Can I Face?
It is essential to understand that there are many different types of fraud one can commit. As such, the courts will consider all aggravating factors when determining a sentence for someone convicted of this crime.
Generally, mortgage fraud is a felony offense. As such, those convicted of committing this offense can face a prison sentence of up to ten years under Oklahoma law if the value of the property is over $500. Similarly, you can face expensive fines for committing this offense, including a maximum fine of $50,000.
Are There Any Possible Defenses?
When facing felony fraud charges, you may think there is nothing you can do to prove your innocence. However, there are defenses you can enact with the help of an experienced attorney.
It is the prosecution’s job to prove that you knowingly participated in the fraud. An attorney may be able to prove that you were an unknowing participant and should not be held responsible for the actions of others. They may also use your financial records to show the information you provided was accurate.
If you are facing these charges, it is essential to understand that you must retain the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney. Fraud is a serious charge with harsh penalties, and as such, you should contact an experienced attorney as soon as you are charged. At the Jones Firm, PLLC, our dedicated legal team will work tirelessly to review the details of your case to provide you with the best legal advice for your circumstances. Contact us today to learn more about how our firm can help you.