Florida is retaining it’s title as the state with the highest mortgage fraud rates in the nation. But as the real estate market’s downward death spiral continues, the nature of the fraud continues to evolve to match the criminal opportunities available.
When the market was strong, mortgage fraud cases revolved around fraudulent applications for loans that applicants had no intention (or means) to pay off, intending to flip the properties in a then-hot real estate market.
But the nature of mortgage fraud cases today is about ripping off innocent and desperate homeowners looking to find a way out of crippling payments that they can’t afford. The criminals target people who are soon to be forclosed upon, and offer them help in working out payments or refinacing. But what they actually do is have you sign over your home, and use the controlling interest to borrow against any remaining equity you have, and walk away.
Part of the problem, law enforcement officials suggest, has been Florida’s minimal licensing requirements for anyone who calls themselves a licensed mortgage broker. But in desperate times, it is easier to take advantage of desperate people. And finding potential victims has never been easier.
And prosecutors are overwhelmed with these cases. And since some of them initially can be classified as civil disagreements, criminal prosecution isn’t always the top priority for district attorneys who are already swamped.
Most people agree that something must be done to reign in these criminal practices, but for now, the best advice is for everyone to be exceedingly careful about who you do business with regarding your real estate financial problems.
If you are accused of mortgage fraud, fraud, or any criminal charge in Florida, please contact us for a defense consultation. We can help you defend your rights in court. Our case evaluation is free to anyone accused of a crime in Florida.