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COMMIT MORTGAGE FRAUD AND PAY A HEAVY PRICE

By
Real Estate Broker/Owner with Realty One Group

    

Question: What do you get when you combine a dishonest mortgage broker, dishonest title agent, and a dishonest real estate appraiser?  Answer: heavy fines as well as a lengthy prison sentence!

Law enforcement officials and government regulators are cracking down hard on people involved in all aspects of the real estate business who commit or conspire to create fraudulent mortgage loans as well as illegally obtain mortgage loans, which ultimately costs tens of billions of dollars  to both mortgage lenders and consumers each and every year.

Recently, Federal agents in both Miami and Anchorage, Alaska have charged numerous people with scheming to defraud banks and mortgage lenders out of millions of dollars in illegally obtained mortgage loans.  These individuals include home sellers, so-called ‘straw' buyers, real estate agents, title agents, real estate appraisers, bank employees and mortgage brokers, all d in the purchase & sale of properties using inflated real estate appraisals, fraudulent loan documents, as well as inflated mortgage loans, allowing these people to pocket millions of dollars.  Kickbacks and bribes were paid to cooperating home sellers with the remaining individuals earning illegally obtained commissions in their respective professions.

These various individuals are now facing charges of mail fraud, bank fraud, wire fraud, money laundering,  as well as giving false statements (e.g. signing loan documents you know to be false!), with penalties involving lengthy prison terms as well as millions of dollars in fines.  The home sellers themselves are also faced with these same charges.

In these particular cases, the persons involved seem so far away, especially with Anchorage Alaska thousands of miles away from Florida. Yet you may not know it, but mortgage fraud has occurred right here, in our own back yard!

 Numerous homeowners in and around our community as well as nationwide have obtained fraudulent mortgage loans to either purchase a home or refinance the mortgage on their current home, who under normal circumstances would have never received a mortgage loan of the amount they did.  As a result, many of these same homeowners are now facing the very real prospect of losing their home to foreclosure.

Recently, I have personally spoken with well over 100 homeowners in and around our community who have disclosed some rather unorthodox methods of purchasing and financing real estate, all of which was accomplished with the aid of some very unscrupulous mortgage brokers, mortgage bankers, title agents, real estate appraisers, and yes, even real estate agents.  In almost every case, each of these homeowners has obtained a mortgage that would never be approved by an honest mortgage loan underwriter.  Each homeowner had debt to income ratios that almost doubled what a conventional mortgage loan underwriter would find acceptable.  Each of these homeowners had fully documented income sources, with no job or income changes since their loan was first obtained.  You may be asking yourself, how could this happen?  How can someone get a mortgage loan they know they cannot afford, and yet somehow still qualify for what amounts to be a very unaffordable mortgage loan?  Mortgage fraud, pure and simple.   

These days it seems mortgage fraud is involving more than the usual suspects.  Now the actual home owners and home sellers are getting involved, perhaps not realizing that their involvement alone subjects them to the same scrutiny of that of anyone else involved in a fraudulent transaction.  Falsifying income tax returns, creating pay stubs, and conspiring with others to re-create an income or credit history is being accomplished by real estate professionals, mortgage professionals and consumers alike, all in the effort get something that you would normally not qualify for. 

The current mortgage and real estate crisis we are now faced with is definitely giving pause to many, especially those faced with losing their homes to foreclosure.  However, those people involved in many of these mortgage loans that were obtained fraudulently should be more concerned about how they may be judged in the near future, should they get caught being a party to mortgage fraud.

There is no home or mortgage loan you must have that means having to commit mortgage fraud to get it.  One can only hope that seeing this mortgage and real estate crisis first hand will cause them to think twice about being a party to mortgage fraud. 

Reading articles like this one about mortgage fraud is one thing; actually reading the headlines of the arrests & indictments of people within their own community and seeing the names of the actual individuals facing serious prison time has to be a real wake up call.  Let's hope everyone wakes up today, and realize that the mortgage fraud you commit today may end up costing you your freedom tomorrow.

 

Mike Sikorski, GRI

Licensed Real Estate Broker

Licensed Mortgage Broker

Loss Mitigation Specialist

Florida Realty Network LLC

22079 Kimble Avenue

Port Charlotte, Florida 33952

Phone 941-206-6000

Mike@FloridaRealty.net