Understanding White-Collar Mortgage Fraud in Texas

Posted on in Criminal Law

Texas white collar crime defense attorney White-collar crimes refer to various criminal behaviors typically committed by business professionals. One widespread example of a white-collar crime is mortgage fraud, which is any misstatement of information used by a lender when funding a property. Mortgage fraud is becoming increasingly prevalent in Texas and across the United States. It is essential to understand how mortgage fraud is committed, its penalties, and how to prevent prosecution in the event that you are accused.

Ways Mortgage Fraud is Committed

Individuals can commit mortgage fraud in a variety of ways. A homebuyer, seller, real estate agent, or lender can misrepresent information at any stage of the process of obtaining a mortgage. In the most common type of mortgage fraud, an entity involved in the mortgage process may choose to omit financial information, misrepresent costs, or falsify a buyer's ability to apply for a mortgage. Prosecutors can find fraudulent statements in:

  • The application for a mortgage loan
  • The property title
  • Tax or credit forms 
  • Income confirmation 
  • Opinions on the value of the property

Individuals may hide information or misrepresent financial statements to obtain a property they otherwise could not have afforded. This is not uncommon for homebuyers who inflate their income statements to get a home loan, but this behavior can occur for many different reasons. 

Lenders can also be accused of mortgage fraud for inflating lending prices and interest rates, skimming extra money off property equity, and foreclosure fraud.

According to Texas law, lenders may not:

  • Charge for a service that is not provided 
  • Create prepayment penalties on a high-cost loan
  • Extend credit to someone without ensuring that individual's ability to repay the loan 
  • Create balloon payments, which are scheduled payments that are more than double the original payments on a loan 

Penalties and Sentencing 

Falsifying or misrepresenting information to obtain a property violates Texas law under section 32.33 of the Texas penal code. Mortgage fraud occurs in so many different ways, so the sentences for this crime range from mild to severe depending on circumstances. Depending on the amount of money skimmed and the property's value, mortgage fraud sentencing ranges from two to 99 years in prison and fines up to $10,000. 

It is critical to hire a skilled attorney if you are accused of mortgage fraud in the state of Texas. This crime is serious, and you could be facing jail time or significant fines. Attorneys with experience in this practice area are educated on how to prevent prosecution through various legal strategies. 

Find a San Antonio Mortgage Fraud Attorney Today

At the Law Offices of Sam H. Lock, San Antonio criminal defense attorney Sam Lock has extensive experience preventing mortgage fraud prosecution in Texas. For years, attorney Sam Lock has represented clients being prosecuted by the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigations. If you are being prosecuted for mortgage fraud in Texas, call our office today at 210-226-0965 to schedule your free initial consultation. 

 

Sources:

https://www.dob.texas.gov/banks-trust-companies/mortgage-fraud 

https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/FI/htm/FI.343.htm#343.105

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