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5 Qualities to Look for in a Mortgage Fraud Lawyer

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If you have been accused of mortgage fraud, you will likely need to sort through piles of documentation pertaining to the purchase of the property in question and the laws regulating real estate transactions. Mortgage fraud is a form of white-collar crime that can often overlap with bank fraud and other deceptive financial practices. Hiring a mortgage fraud lawyer with extensive experience can help you understand which statutes you may have violated and how to build a viable defense.

What Constitutes Mortgage Fraud?

In the context of real estate transactions, mortgage fraud is any misrepresentation of the buyer or the property. Usually, the buyer’s assets or the property’s value is knowingly overstated or understated for the purposes of securing a favorable rate, side-stepping government regulations, or obtaining the property for less money than it is worth. Examples of mortgage fraud include:

• Overstating the buyer’s annual income to obtain a loan

• Understating the value of a foreclosure to purchase it at a low price

• Using “straw buyers” to purchase a property on behalf of an investor who has too much debt

• Obtaining a lower rate by falsely claiming the property as a primary residence

Sometimes, mortgage fraud is committed by the buyer himself or herself, but lenders and others involved in the transaction often contribute to or initiate the fraudulent transaction. The most

complex mortgage fraud schemes involve multiple parties working together to extract equity or cash out of a deal.

5 Qualities to Look for in a Mortgage Fraud Lawyer

Working with a skilled mortgage fraud lawyer in Houston, TX is essential for overcoming the charges like these. Mortgage fraud is usually a violation of federal statutes, and the government has become increasingly vigilant in catching this type of white-collar crime. Before you choose a lawyer, you should be aware of the kind of legal expertise needed to produce a favorable outcome for your case, even if there is strong evidence against you. Here are some qualities to look for:

1. Extensive Experience in White-Collar Crime With a Focus on Mortgage Fraud

White-collar crime is a broad area of the law that includes violations of statutes pertaining to investments, banking, business operations, billing, stocks, and real estate. Your lawyer should be experienced in cases pertaining to fraud, embezzlement, and deceptive banking practices with a strong focus on real estate transactions.

2. Historical Knowledge of Real Estate Laws

The statute of limitations for many types of mortgage fraud cases is 10 years, meaning that the relevant legislation may have changed significantly by the time charges are pressed. Your lawyer should be able to coordinate a thorough investigation into the laws that were applicable at the time of the transaction. An informed analysis of the relevant legislation can often produce defense strategies that result in a positive outcome for the case.

3. An Understanding of FBI Investigations

White-collar crime can often trigger an investigation conducted by the FBI. During the investigation, any violations of federal statutes pertaining to the obstruction of evidence can lend strength to the prosecution’s case and incur further charges. Your lawyer should be able to coach you through the investigation. He or she should also be ready to negotiate with government representatives on your behalf, especially if they are willing to accept a settlement outside of court.

4. A Strong Professional Network

During a mortgage fraud case, many experts can weigh in on the evidence for or against the individual facing charges. An experienced lawyer with a strong professional network will often bring in experts to testify on behalf of his or her client. Examples of using expert testimonies to bolster the defense include:

• Asking an accountant to verify the buyer’s declaration of assets

• Bringing in an economist to ascertain the value of the property at the time of the purchase

• Getting a professional assessment of the property

 

5. Discretion in High-Profile Cases

Complex mortgage fraud schemes involving large amounts of money can become splashy news headlines quickly. If your case involves any public figures or holds interest for the general public, you will want to work with a lawyer who can minimize your exposure and mitigate damage to your reputation. Additionally, your lawyer should take measures to prevent evidence from leaking into the press and coach you on how to make public statements without incriminating yourself. Dealing with a mortgage fraud investigation and any formal charges that result is a task that requires the ability to synthesize intricate bodies of legislation and great volumes of fine print for the purpose of constructing strong arguments. Choosing an experienced lawyer who understands how to handle government agencies and enlist convincing expert witnesses is the first step in working to overcome the charges.

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