Defending Against Charges of Appraisal Fraud

Defending Against Charges of Appraisal Fraud

Appraisal fraud occurs when there is an intentional and material misrepresentation of the value of property. The fraud can result in an overstatement or understatement of a property’s appraised value. This type of fraud is carried out by a licensed real estate appraiser and often in collusion with other parties. For example, a loan originator, who is paid on commission, may pressure an appraiser to fraudulently inflate the appraised property value.

Charges of appraisal fraud can result from any of the following actions:

  • Failure to consider the market values of comparable property.
  • Failure to consider outside variables in addition to market values.
  • Failure to account for the condition of the property.
  • Failure to ensure that all relevant data has been collected for use in the appraisal.
  • Failure to use standard and accepted practices of research and value assessment.

Any one of the above actions, or a combination thereof, may allow an appraiser to manipulate the comparable market values and property characteristics.

Appraisers may also be charged with fraud if they inflate an appraisal as part of a real estate flipping scheme that is used to quickly “flip,” or resell property to a straw buyer or duped buyer for profit. Appraisal fraud may also be charged in connection with other white collar crimes, such as bank fraud or mortgage fraud. Criminal charges for conspiracy to commit wire or bank fraud, kickbacks, and overcharges may also be filed in connection with appraisal fraud.

Defending Against Charges of Appraisal Fraud

In a criminal case for appraisal 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 or negligence does not constitute fraud.

Real estate appraisers are considered “industry insiders” and criminal penalties for committing fraud by an insider can be severe. However, being under investigation for or charged with fraud does not mean that the allegations are correct. Challenging appraisal fraud charges as early as possible helps ensure the best possible outcome in your case.

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