Tampa Mortgage Fraud – Federal Prison

Tampa Federal Criminal Defense Expert notes that the former president of a mortgage company was sentenced to five years and three months and an officer was sentenced to three years and four months in federal prison for their roles in a $79 million Mortgage Fraud Ponzi Scheme. . In addition to restitution, they signed a forfeiture of assets agreement for another $79 million.
A lawyer may be the feds next target. Both defendants had their sentences reduced for the cooperation they have given the government. One defendant allowed federal agents to record telephone calls. The other defendant “wore a wire during a meeting with a Philadelphia lawyer so investigators could gather information about the lawyer being an accessory after the fact” according to published reports in the Tampa Tribune.
The banks lost $68.5 million and the government lost about $9.5 million between 1999 and 2001. United States District Judge, James Whittemore called the crime “a fraud of mammoth proportions.”
Source: October 26, 2009 Tampa Tribune

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Mortgage Fraud Cases – Update – Case Types

Florida Federal Criminal Defense Attorney, Lawyer W.F. ”Casey” Ebsary recently reviewed an interesting piece on Mortgage Fraud by an experienced white collar criminal defense attorney. Angie Halim, an attorney recently published a summary called “The Current State of Mortgage Fraud Prosecution.” The complete work can be found in Criminal Litigation, Fall 2009, Volume 10, Number 1, American Bar Association, Section of Litigation.

The writer defines Mortgage Fraud as “a material misstatement, misrepresentation, or omission relied upon by an underwriter or lender to fund, purchase, or insure a loan.” Although the term used is “mortgage fraud” there are several fact patterns that generate state and federal criminal cases. They are according to the white collar criminal defense attorney Halim:

Mortgage appraisal fraud
Mortgage fraud equity skimming
Straw purchasing schemes
Mortgage occupancy fraud

United States Code Sections frequently used: 

Conspiracy 18 u.s.c. § 371
Mail Fraud 18 u.s.c. § 1341 
Wire Fraud 18 u.s.c. § 1343 
Bank Fraud 18 u.s.c. § 1344 
Tax Fraud 26 u.s.c. § 7201 et seq. 
False Statements 18 u.s.c. § 1001 
False Statements in Loan Applications 18 u.s.c. § 1014. 
The FBI notes and federal criminal defense attorney Halim concurs there are some emerging trends in Mortgage Fraud prosecutions including “reverse mortgage fraud schemes, credit enhancement schemes, builder bailout schemes, condominium conversion schemes, foreclosure rescue schemes, serial property flipping, and short sales schemes.” The FBI has now commenced “Operation Malicious Mortgage.” The feds will pursue lending fraud, foreclosure rescue schemes, and mortgage-related bankruptcy cases, the article notes.
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Source: The Current State of Mortgage Fraud Prosecution, Criminal Litigation, Fall 2009, Volume 10, Number 1, American Bar Association, Section of Litigation.

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