Federal authorities are cracking down on financial institution fraud (FIF), including mortgage fraud, more than ever before. Mortgage fraud generally refers to making misrepresentations or omitting material information to influence a lender’s decision.

The FBI refers to fraud for profit and fraud for housing as the two main types of mortgage fraud. Fraud for profit refers to fraud committed by mortgage brokers, appraisers, and other industry professionals. Those engaging in fraud for profit are not focused on acquiring housing, but instead, are finding ways to wrongfully steal money and equity throughout the mortgage lending process. Fraud for housing refers to wrongful actions taken by a borrower to wrongfully obtain a house or maintain ownership of a home they already own. For example, claiming income or assets they do not have, inflating an appraisal, or pretending to be someone else when making a purchase are all forms of fraud for housing.

If you are being accused of mortgage fraud, you could be charged criminally with several federal offenses including wire fraud, bank fraud, false statements, and conspiracy and face decades prison and thousands of dollars in fines.

In order to defend against fraud charges, your criminal defense attorney will have to come up with a strategy to poke holes in the prosecution’s case. For example, if you are charged with making false statements or submitting a false loan or credit application, your attorney may establish that the statements you made were not knowingly false and were made without intent. Intent is a requisite element of the crime, so if the prosecutor cannot prove that you made these false statements knowingly, they will not be able to get a conviction.