West Palm Beach Real Estate & Mortgage Loan Attorney
The housing crisis of 2008 brought serious changes to the way in which houses are appraised, who is allowed to appraise them, and the predatory lending tactics that led to so many defaulted homes. The ensuing recession led to many who found themselves looking for rental properties and worrying about debt that they would never be able to afford to pay.
Since then, authorities all across the country have been paying special attention to real estate and mortgage fraud. If you’ve been charged under these laws, it’s important to understand your rights. Regardless of the real estate climate, you are entitled to a trial by jury and fair and equitable consideration of the evidence against you.
The West Palm Beach real estate & mortgage loan attorneys at Skier Law Firm P.A. has successfully defended clients from real estate fraud charges. Here, we’ll explain what those charges are, how they’re prosecuted, and what you can do about them.
Types of Real Estate Fraud as Defined under Florida Law
Pretty much anyone who is involved in a real estate transaction can be charged with fraud under Florida Law. This includes:
- Real estate buyers
- Real estate sellers
- Mortgage brokers
- Notaries public
- Real estate agents
- Loan officers
Each of these folks can be charged with various crimes such as:
- Falsifying loan documents
- Misleading real estate buyers / misrepresenting the terms of the loan
- Providing inaccurate or incomplete information concerning a mortgage loan
- Falsifying information on a mortgage loan
- Forging information on a mortgage loan
- Misrepresenting the value of the home
Understanding How these Crimes are Prosecuted
The biggest difficulty for prosecutors is recognizing real estate fraud when they see it. It isn’t always apparent what is going on even though it’s happening right before their eyes. For that reason, they’re usually a step behind and often find themselves chasing phantoms. On the other hand, transactions that may on the surface be completely legal are not. These can include:
- Builder buyout. Investors use straw buyers or incentives to inflate the cost of real estate in certain areas for the purpose of driving up market prices.
- Foreclosure rescue. A lender approaches a homeowner in foreclosure with the promise that they will buy the property and allow them to live there as a renter. But the terms are impossible to meet and the homeowner loses any equity they had on the home.
- Title fraud. Someone uses a fake identity to transfer ownership of a property to themselves without the owner’s knowledge.
- Broker fraud. Real estate brokers misrepresent prospective homeowner’s information to a creditor in order to make a commission.
- Straw borrowing. A buyer uses another individual as a front for the purchase of the house. This individual has no intention of either making payments on the house or occupying the house.
- Illegal flipping. A buyer misrepresents information in order to flip a home.
In addition to those, there are many more scenarios that are considered fraudulent under Florida law. If you’ve been accused of these crimes, it’s important to have a skilled West Palm Beach real estate fraud attorney who understands these crimes and how they’re prosecuted.
Call or email the lawyers at the Skier Law Firm P.A. today for a free consultation.