In the past several years, the real estate industry has gone through some rough times. A lot of people who invested in real estate ended up with losses rather than gains. However, the down turn in the industry did not only result in losses, it also resulted in criminal accusations for some individuals as well. These allegations of mortgage fraud trapped many people who only wanted to make an honest living. In order for Oregonians to avoid this kind of situation, they need to understand exactly what mortgage fraud is.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation defines mortgage fraud as the misrepresentation, misstatement or omission in terms of potential property or mortgage that is needed by an underwriter who is purchasing or insuring a loan. Why is mortgage fraud committed? There are two primary reasons why this crime is often committed. One is for housing, where the perpetrator uses it as a primary residence or loans or resells it for income. The second is for profit, which is basically misstating information about a client on a loan transaction in order to maximize potential profits.
What are the usual mortgage fraud scams that Oregonians should look out for? While fixing a property then reselling it for profits is not illegal, it is when it is purchased for less than the market value and incorrectly verified by an appraiser that the value has doubled. This is also known as flipping. Occupancy fraud is commonly perpetrated by investors. This occurs when a property is misrepresented as occupied by an owner despite being vacant. Finally, straw buying is using another person's information or credit to acquire property for someone who does not qualify.
In any of these scams, Oregonians can easily be implicated even if they were not directly involved in the crime. Unfortunately, mortgage fraud is often associated with federal criminal charges so if one should be charged with this type of crime, it is best to prepare an aggressive criminal defense to help assert their innocence.
Source: Investopedia.com, "Mortgage Fraud: Understanding And Avoiding It," Denise Finney, Accessed on Dec. 4, 2014