Defending Against Charges of Mortgage Fraud

Defending Against Charges of Mortgage Fraud

Mortgage fraud can occur in a number of ways. Mortgage fraud can be defined as deliberately providing misleading or false information on mortgage documents with the intent of closing on a real estate transaction. It can be the misrepresentation with the intent to obtain a more favorable deal on a mortgage.

The FBI defines mortgage fraud as “any material misstatement, misrepresentation or omission relied upon by an underwriter or lender to fund, purchase or issue a loan.” It may be committed by a buyer, seller, or real estate professional. There are two distinct areas of mortgage fraud that are investigated by the FBI:

  • Fraud for Housing: This type of fraud consists of illegal actions by the borrower to acquire a home under false pretenses. Often the borrower makes misrepresentations about income or employment history in order to qualify for a loan or a higher loan amount. Typically this is charged as a misdemeanor.
  • Fraud for Profit or “industry insider fraud”: This type of fraud is typically an attempt to obtain an inappropriately large loan, even though this type of loan often goes into default. The FBI focuses more heavily on Fraud for Profit schemes because nearly 80% of all reported fraud losses involve collaboration or collusion by real estate industry insiders, such as loan officers, appraisers, real estate agents, mortgage title companies, or developers.

Defending Against Charges of Mortgage Fraud

In a criminal case for mortgage fraud the government has the burden of proof and must show that you intended to defraud. This means the prosecutor must show that you committed the fraud on purpose. An unintentional mistake does not constitute fraud and is not a crime.

If you have been charged with mortgage fraud, it is critical that you hire a white collar criminal defense attorney who can employ effective defense strategies. Depending on the specifics of your case, perhaps you have been wrongly accused, or perhaps there are facts to support a finding of reasonable doubt that you intentionally provided misleading information during the mortgage process.

Types of Mortgage Fraud Cases Our Firm Handles

Ashley D. Adams, PLC handles all types of fraud cases. Some of the most common types of mortgage fraud cases we handle include:

  • Property flipping which uses identity theft, straw borrowers, shell companies, or industry insiders to purchase properties and artificially inflate their values through false appraisals. The properties are then repurchased several times for higher prices.
  • Equity skimming, which involves the use of corporate shell companies, corporate identity theft, and the use or threat of bankruptcy and foreclosure to mislead homeowners and investors.
  • Shotgunning, which occurs when multiple loans for the same property in excess of the property’s real value are obtained simultaneously.
  • Appraisal fraud, which consists of actions involving overstatement or understatement of a property’s appraised value.
  • False statements include obtaining a mortgage through misrepresentation of income, employment, residency or other loan information.
  • Mortgage-based identity theft is the fraudulent use of another’s identity to obtain a mortgage without that person’s knowledge or consent.

Alleged mortgage fraud schemes are being aggressively investigated and prosecuted. If you are being investigated, or have been charged with mortgage fraud, reach out to our firm today. Ashley D. Adams has significant experience defending clients accused of complex white collar crimes, including mortgage fraud. She will work diligently to ensure that your rights are protected.

Contact us or call now (480) 219-1366 for a case evaluation. Have your questions answered and obtain the peace of mind that comes from having a former Assistant U.S. Attorney on your side.


The attorneys at Ashley D. Adams, PLC handle state criminal cases throughout Arizona including the cities of Phoenix, Scottsdale, Glendale, Mesa, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Maricopa, Gilbert, Peoria, Surprise, Goodyear, Litchfield Park, Avondale, Chandler, Casa Grande, Florence, Queen Creek, Deer Valley, North Pinal and Sun City as well as those living in and around Maricopa County, Pinal County, Pima County, Yuma County and Yavapai County.

The attorneys at Ashley D. Adams, PLC handle federal criminal cases throughout the United States, including Arizona, Oklahoma, Utah, and California.