Inland Empire Mortgage Fraud Defense Lawyer
If you have been charged with mortgage fraud in San Bernardino or Riverside County, you are facing serious potential criminal penalties that could include jail time. You need an Inland Empire mortgage fraud defense lawyer to protect your Constitutional rights, to help you understand and respond to the charges, and to protect you in all of your dealings with the criminal justice system.
In response to the foreclosure and real estate crisis that began in 2008, states and the federal government have both cracked down heavily on mortgage and real estate fraud, launching many investigations and becoming aggressive in prosecuting wrongdoers. Unfortunately, many mortgage brokers, real estate agents, escrow agents and other real estate professionals are finding themselves caught up in these investigations and not knowing where to turn. A San Bernardino mortgage fraud defense attorney can help.
What Is Mortgage Fraud?
Mortgage & real estate fraud cases can arise from a number of different behaviors that allegedly involve perpetuating falsehoods and engaging in dishonest actions. Some of the many behaviors that could result in a charge of real estate fraud include:
- Transactions involving straw buyers whose credit information is used to facilitate the transfer of property to a different owner
- Title transfers designed to inflate the value of a property to benefit appraisers, investors and brokers
- Mortgage loans obtained with false identities or misleading information
- Predatory lending
- Foreclosure fraud
An individual accused of these or other illegal behaviors needs to understand the charges faced, and needs to make a determination on whether to plead guilty and try to arrange a plea bargain or to plead not guilty and take the case to court. It is possible to be found not guilty simply by showing a prosecutor did not prove the case of fraud, but there may also be times when a defendant wishes to raise affirmative defenses to an accusation of real estate fraud.
A San Bernardino mortgage fraud defense lawyer will review the facts and circumstances leading up to the criminal charges and can help clients decide how best to proceed in order to minimize any potential consequences associated with accusations of the crime of real estate fraud.
What Are the Penalties for Real Estate Fraud?
The penalties for real estate fraud in California can be very serious depending on the specific type of crime you have been charged with. For example:
- Under provisions found in the Financial Code section 17414, escrow theft can result in three years of incarceration.
- Government Code section 8214.2 addresses notary fraud, which can result in three years of incarceration.
- Civil Code section 2945.4 addresses foreclosure consultant fraud, which can lead to a three-year prison sentence.
- Identity theft as defined in Penal Code section 530.5 can lead to a year of incarceration.
Defendants in a real estate fraud case could also be charged with grand theft, forgery, recording a false or forged instrument, and equity sales fraud. Any of these offenses can carry between one and three years of prison time. If prosecutors add enhancements to the charges, such as an aggravated white collar crime enhancement or a charge of excessive taking of $50,000 to $2,500,000, a defendant could face as long as an additional five years of incarceration as well as a $500,000 fine.
Get Help from a San Bernardino & Riverside Mortgage Fraud Defense Attorney
At Milligan, Beswick, Levine & Knox LLP, our experienced attorneys have represented many clients charged with mortgage or real estate fraud crimes. Let us put our legal knowledge with these complex cases to work to help you achieve the most favorable outcome in a serious situation. Contact us today to learn how we can help.