The collapse of the residential housing market in 2008 was due, in part, because of lending practices engaged in by banks and mortgage lenders throughout the United States. Mortgage default and foreclosure rates hit historic highs. As the nation’s economic climate worsened, investigators on the state and federal levels began to uncover a pattern of fraud that permeated the housing industry in the years leading up to the collapse.
Today, prosecutors in Texas and on the federal level have invested considerable resources into investigating and taking to court those suspected of committing housing fraud. Texas legislators approved the creation of a Residential Mortgage Fraud Task Force headed by the state attorney general to crack down on fraudulent activities.
The Texas Department of Banking defines mortgage fraud as making a materially false or misleading statement on a loan application knowing or intending to mislead the lender. Examples of conduct that could be considered loan fraud include:
Using deception to apply for a loan is a white-collar criminal offense that can be prosecuted as a state-level or federal-level crime. Defendants in a fraudulent lending case can include homeowners, mortgage brokers, real estate agents, real estate brokers, real estate investors and appraisers. Federal prosecutions can include wire fraud, bank fraud and money laundering charges in addition to false mortgages.
Houston criminal lawyer Rand Mintzer knows that federal prosecutors usually seek prison sentences for those convicted. Potential sentences can be as long as 20 years depending on the circumstances of the offense.
Prosecutions under Texas fraud laws usually involve felony charges that can result in prison sentences, probation and fines. State prosecutors frequently ask the judge imposing a sentence to order that the convicted person pay restitution.
Defending against one’s charges requires an accomplished criminal defense attorney like Rand Mintzer who understands the state and federal laws and the manner in which investigators and prosecutors build a case against the accused. Prosecutors usually rely upon documents such as appraisals, lending applications and disclosure statements to establish the fraudulent conduct. Frequently, defense lawyers must rely upon experts in money lending and mortgage underwriting to attack the evidence against the accused.
Prosecutors can spend years building a case before charges are filed. If you believe you are being investigated for a crime, or if you are facing federal or state charges, you need a skilled and aggressive criminal lawyer at your side. Schedule a free consultation with Rand Mintzer by calling 713-862-8880.