In New Jersey, mortgage fraud is a serious crime that carries significant penalties. The criminal offense of mortgage fraud can sometimes be difficult to understand as it can be committed by both lenders and borrowers. Essentially, there are two distinct areas of mortgage fraud, fraud for profit and fraud for housing. If you have recently been charged with mortgage fraud, it is in your immediate interest to retain a seasoned Camden County White Collar Crimes Attorney who can help protect your rights and interests. Keep reading to learn about mortgage fraud penalties in New Jersey.
What are the potential penalties for mortgage fraud in New Jersey?
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), mortgage fraud is defined as any sort of “material misstatement, misrepresentation, or omission relating to the property or potential mortgage relied on by an underwriter or lender to fund, purchase, or insure a loan.” Therefore, lenders and borrowers can both commit mortgage fraud. Fraud for profit occurs when a lender uses their specialized knowledge during the mortgage process to make a profit. Fraud for housing occurs when a borrower misrepresents or lies about critical information on their loan application to manipulate the appraised value of a property. When lenders commit mortgage fraud it is referred to as professional fraud while fraud for housing is referred to as residential mortgage fraud. Professional mortgage fraud typically involves multiple parties such as real estate agents, accountants, mortgage brokers, and appraisers. Residential and professional mortgage frauds are serious crimes and ones that carry harsh penalties.
In New Jersey, if you take less than $1,000 in a fraud scheme, it will be considered a misdemeanor offense which is punished by up to a year in prison and a fine that may range from a few thousand dollars. Misdemeanor fraud will also likely result in probation for up to a year. If you take more than $1,000 in a fraud scheme, it will be classified as a felony offense which can be punished by a decade of prison time and fines of over $100,000. However, it is important to note that mortgage fraud can be prosecuted both on the state and federal levels as some fraud schemes involve crossing state lines. If you are convicted of federal mortgage fraud it is punishable by up to 30 years in federal prison as well as a fine of $1 million. Alongside these harsh penalties, you will likely be required to provide injured parties with restitution. For instance, if you omit critical information on a mortgage application as a borrower, you may be required to pay restitution to the lender.
If you have been charged with residential or professional mortgage fraud, you need a determined Camden County white-collar crime attorney on your side. Our firm is prepared to work tirelessly to help you achieve a favorable outcome.