New Yorkers who are confronted by allegations of white-collar crime should understand that the consequences for a conviction can be severe. Despite these allegations being unrelated to violence, they carry with them harsh penalties for a conviction. People who are arrested and charged with financial crimes like mortgage fraud should be aware of what constitutes the crime itself and the strategies that can make for an effective defense.

Mortgage fraud falls under financial institution fraud. If a mortgage loan is acquired through a person or entity misrepresenting, misstating or omitting information to acquire it, it can result in a charge of mortgage fraud. Fraud for housing is when a person wants to purchase a home and, to achieve that end, commits an illegal act like misrepresenting income so that the bank or lending institution will approve the loan. Fraud for profit is if there is an attempt by those who are knowledgeable about the industry to accrue equity or cash from a homeowner.

Allegations of white-collar crimes related to mortgage fraud can also include various schemes. If a person is facing foreclosure, an opportunity for foreclosure rescue involves an offer of assistance by transferring the rights to the property. It will then be sold for profit, or equity will be created. Bailouts or conversions are done when builders and owners find straw purchasers who are offered cash with the value of the property and the straw buyers’ income artificially inflated. A home equity conversion mortgage is a reverse mortgage for people 62 and older. Since this can garner equity, a mortgage fraud scheme will seek to use seniors to get cash. This can go undetected until the senior dies and property is valued to find that it had been appraised for more than it was worth.

Mortgage fraud has legal and personal consequences that should be understood. With the litany of penalties including jail time, fines and a negative perception from the stigma of the allegations being associated with these acts, a legal defense for white-collar crime may be imperative.