Mortgage fraud cases are generally prosecuted by the feds under one of the following fraud statutes: mail fraud (18 USC § 1341), wire fraud (18 USC § 1343) and bank fraud (18 USC § 1344), A charge of conspiracy can and is often brought in many cases and RICO charges may be brought as well.
As in all criminal charges, the government has the burden of proof, and must prove each and every element of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt. If the government cannot or does not prove every element, there is no conviction. Under federal law, the punishment for a conviction of mortgage fraud can be as much as 30 years in federal prison, as well as up to a $1,000,000 fine or both.
Although the specific elements of the crime will vary depending upon which statute the government uses in the Indictment or Complaint in the majority of cases the facts involve one or more of the following:
1) There was a knowing and intentional misrepresentation or omission for the purpose of obtaining a mortgage,
2) There was an over valuing of property, salary or assets to obtain a mortgage
3) There was the use of false information in the mortgage application such as name, address, social security, or other identifying information,
4) The mail or a wire service (fax, western Union and/or other means) were utilized in connection with or to aid in the process of a mortgage application or receipt of documents supporting the application or receipt of a mortgage.
Bank, wire or mail fraud requires that a person have acted with the intent to defraud or deceive. Thus if the government fails to show that the defendant knew he was deceiving someone or something, there can generally be no conviction. Or if the defendant establishes a valid defense that shows that she acted in good faith, with no intent to defraud, the government will not be able to prove the charges.
In mortgage fraud cases, it is especially important to retain an experienced federal criminal trial attorney to help defend your rights. If you have been charged with or are being investigated for mortgage fraud, call Ms. Gauli-Rufo. Lorraine Gauli-Rufo is a federal criminal defense attorney with who has successfully represented many clients charged with or investigated for Mortgage fraud. She is an experienced New Jersey and New York Federal White Collar Criminal Defense attorney, conveniently located in Manhattan and Norther New Jersey, and serving all New Jersey towns, including Verona, Montclair, Wayne, Little Falls, and Caldwell, Newark, and all areas in New Jersey.
To discuss the federal criminal defense update, or criminal law more generally, reach out to New Jersey and New York criminal defense lawyer Lorraine Gauli-Rufo at 973-239-4300 or at LGR LAW for a consultation today. For more information about the firm, please visit LGR LAW’s website.
 The information provided in this blog entry is general information regarding mortgage and bank fraud law, and is accurate at the time prepared, and based upon the experiences of Lorraine Gauli-Rufo. Criminal law is subject to change because of legal developments and cases decided. You should not rely on this to determine any course of action, but rather, you should consult an attorney directly, who is licensed to practice in state and federal courts in your area. Ms. Gauli-Rufo is licensed to practice in New Jersey and New York State and federal courts, and other federal courts after filing an application and receiving permission. You should contact her when first notified of charges approached by federal agents, or notified of an ongoing investigation.