Los Angeles Federal Loan Fraud Lawyer
Ever since the Great Recession and the 2007 mortgage crisis, federal authorities have paid much closer attention to mortgage and personal loan terms to ensure no individual or business is being defrauded or taken advantage of. The federal government is also involved in many mortgages throughout the country through Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans, the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac), and the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae). Due to the government’s direct involvement in mortgage lending and in the interest of economic stability, mortgage and loan fraud may be charged as a state or federal offense. If you find yourself facing charges for an offense related to a loan, you should contact a Los Angeles federal loan fraud lawyer right away.
If you are accused of lying to obtain a loan or mortgage, you may face criminal charges. Reach out to a fraud attorney from Spolin Law P.C. as soon as possible to discuss your rights and defense options. Contact us today at (310) 424-5816 to schedule a free consultation.
California Mortgage Fraud
Real estate fraud occurs when you make a material misrepresentation, misstatement, or omission to the lender or underwriter to obtain, fund, or insure a loan or obtain more favorable terms. It can also involve you willfully lying or deceiving homeowners, buyers, or sellers for financial gain or to obtain property. Real estate fraud is a broad type of criminal activity encompasses mortgage fraud, foreclosure fraud, rent skimming, fraudulently obtaining deeds to real estate, and certain kinds of property flipping.
Examples of real estate fraud:
- Ben lies on his mortgage application saying he makes more than he does, and he provides fake pay stubs to receive a lower interest rate.
- Sherry forges her father’s signature to use his property as collateral for a loan.
- Kevin claims to be a consultant who can help people avoid foreclosure. Kevin charges homeowners $5,000 and then does nothing to help them.
- Adam purchased a dilapidated home and made aesthetic changes to make the value of the home appear higher than it is. Adam lies to potential buyers regarding the condition of the home and the quality of the renovations.
If you are facing charges for any of the above offenses, it’s pertinent that you contact a Los Angeles federal loan fraud lawyer right away so that you can ensure your rights remain protected from the beginning of the criminal process.
Penalties for Loan Fraud in California
If you are accused of committing a type of real estate fraud in California, you may be charged under the state’s grand theft law, which is outlined in California Penal Code (PC) §487. If you took money, labor, real property, or personal property with a value exceeding $950 without permission, you are guilty of grand theft.
Grand theft is a wobbler in California. Depending on the facts of the case, you may be charged with a misdemeanor or felony for real estate fraud. If you are convicted of a misdemeanor, you can be sentenced to up to one year in county jail, and have to pay a fine of up to $1,000. For more serious crimes, you can be charged with a felony, which is punishable by 16 months, two years, or three years in prison.
Federal Loan Fraud Charges
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) investigates allegations of financial institution fraud and mortgage fraud. Financial institution fraud is often perpetrated by employees of banks, lenders, and other financial institutions against customers of those businesses. It encompasses identity theft and embezzlement. Mortgage fraud is more often performed by individuals for profit, or to obtain housing. Common crimes a Los Angeles federal loan fraud lawyer at our firm can help defend you against include:
- Foreclosure rescue schemes
- Loan modification schemes
- Illegal property flipping
- Builder bailout scheme/condo conversion schemes
- Equity Skimming
- Silent second mortgages
- Fraudulently obtained home equity conversion mortgages
- Fraudulent commercial real estate loans
- “Air loans” involving fictitious properties and parties
If you are accused of mortgage fraud, you can be charged with a wide range of federal crimes. Real estate fraud schemes can lead to federal offenses regarding:
- Bank fraud (18 U.S. Code § 1344) – Up to 30 years in prison, and fines reaching $1 million
- Wire fraud (18 U.S. Code § 1343) – Imprisonment up to 20 years and fines, or up to 30 years in prison and a maximum fine of $1 million
- Submitting False Statements (18 U.S. Code § 1001) – Fines, and up to eight years in prison
- Federal Officers Making False Entries (18 U.S. Code § 1005-1006) – Imprisonment up to 30 years, and fines reaching $1 million
- False Loan or Credit Application to Federal Agency (18 U.S. Code § 1014) – Up to 30 years in prison and $1 million in fines
- Fraudulent FHA or United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Transactions (18 U.S. Code § 1010) – Imprisonment up to two years in prison and fines
- Money laundering (18 U.S. Code § 1956) – Up to 20 years in prison, and fines up to $500,000 (or twice the value of the property involved in the transaction)
- Conspiracy (18 U.S. Code § 371) – If you’re facing misdemeanor conspiracy charges, then the punishment shall not exceed the maximum penalties for the intended misdemeanor. If you’re facing felony charges, however, then you could be punished with fines and up to five years in prison.
The statutory penalties stemming from a loan fraud conviction can have far-reaching effects on every aspect of your life, so it’s important to retain the help of a Los Angeles federal loan fraud lawyer if you are being charged with any of the above offenses.
Additional Penalties & Consequences for Loan Fraud
If you are convicted of loan fraud under California or federal law, you face several penalties and consequences in addition to incarceration and fines. You may be required to pay restitution to the individual or corporate victims of your scheme. In addition to imprisonment, you may have to abide by the terms of probation for one or more years.
When you’re convicted of a misdemeanor or felony offense, you have a permanent criminal record. This can impact your ability to continue your education or pursue certain careers. Obtaining and keeping a job may be difficult, and you may be ineligible or have trouble obtaining certain professional licenses.
You may also have a difficult time purchasing a home in the future. A criminal conviction can also impact your immigration status, ability to travel overseas, and your child custody and visitation rights. Additionally, if you are convicted of a felony, you lose the right to own or possess a firearm.
Contact a Los Angeles Federal Loan Fraud Lawyer Today
You would think loan fraud that occurs in California would be charged as a state offense. However, many loan, mortgage, and other real estate fraud offenses are investigated and charged at the federal level.
If you are being investigated for federal loan fraud, you should immediately contact an experienced Los Angeles federal loan fraud lawyer at Spolin Law P.C.. We may be able to argue you lacked the necessary intent to commit a crime, or that the prosecution lacks sufficient evidence to prove you committed an offense. By hiring a lawyer, you improve your chance of obtaining the best possible outcome in your case.