Defending Against Foreclosure Fraud Charges
From companies actively targeting homeowners to investors and property owners defrauding lenders, this was a flourishing activity for those trying to recover losses. All sides of the residential and commercial real estate industry benefited from these practices.
If you find yourself one of the above who is accused of committing foreclosure fraud, you might face a lengthy prison sentence. Foreclosure fraud is a state-level offense in New York.
What is Considered Foreclosure Fraud?
The term “foreclosure fraud” encompasses schemes that involve false statements, misrepresentations or false promises regarding a foreclosure transaction. The result of this misinformation should be designed to enrich the company or individual person who makes the fraudulent claims. In addition, those false claims must deprive the victim who is scammed of the rightful value of the property used in the scheme.
Types of Foreclosure Fraud
Some types of foreclosure fraud may include:
• Rescue scams – This foreclosure scheme charges homeowners a fee for relief from losing their homes and the relief is never provided after receiving the fee. Advertisements are sent to homeowners facing the danger of losing their homes with promises to save their home. Often, after paying the fees they are told that their home is too far in the foreclosure process and saving their home is not possible.
• Fee inflation – This foreclosure fee inflation occurs when exorbitant fees are charged by service providers who serve notices of foreclosure proceedings to homeowners. Traditionally, a service of process fee was a few hundred dollars. After the mortgage bust, some service providers charged and received thousands of dollars for the same work of serving papers to homeowners. Ultimately, those fees were passed to homeowners, as part of the foreclosure judgment, from mortgage lenders who spent the money on the foreclosure process.
• Transfers of fractional ownership – The process of this special type of rescue scheme involving foreclosure fraud occurs when a homeowner signs over part of the interest in their home to a company promising to stop the foreclosure. The company hires straw homeowners who file for bankruptcy, which only delays the foreclosure process. The result is misleading many homeowners that such a transaction would help them save their homes. Instead, the homeowner not only paid a monthly fee, but also gave up partial ownership while unknowingly keeping the foreclosure process open.
• Forged quit claim deeds – Another fraud scheme was improperly taking ownership of homes that were already foreclosed. Homeowners vacated houses where a default or pending foreclosure loomed. By using a forged quit claim deed, this foreclosure fraud scam gave the appearance that the houses were owned by a person or company. Unsuspecting tenants rented houses and only found out once the foreclosure process was complete.
These four examples represent the different types of foreclosure fraud that can result in serious charges. If defined as an attempt to take money, items or assets from a bank, a defendant could face federal charges with a penalty of up to 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine.
Get Legal Help with Foreclosure Fraud Charges
Although foreclosure fraud is not a violent crime, it is not victimless and the government tends to impose harsher sentences based on this fact alone. Raiser & Kenniff, PC will defend you against any type of fraud that is related to foreclosures. Call us today if you have been accused of violating foreclosure transaction laws.