With limited inventory and high interest rates, it can be difficult for potential homebuyers to find a property in the current market. If you are accused of mortgage fraud, which involves intentionally providing misleading or deceptive information during the mortgage lending process, you can face serious legal consequences.
Mortgage fraud and penalties
There are several types of mortgage fraud. These include misrepresenting your income to qualify for a larger mortgage, providing false information to an appraiser so the property’s value will appear higher, and using a stolen identity to apply for a mortgage. If you submit false documents, like altered paystubs, bank records, or a fake employment history, it may appear in the lender’s verification process and alert them to potential mortgage fraud.
If you are convicted of mortgage fraud, you can face criminal penalties, which include fines that can vary depending on the offense and prison time. The court may also order you to pay restitution to any victims of the mortgage fraud, which is meant to compensate them for their financial losses.
Because mortgage fraud includes the intent to deceive the mortgage lender, if you did not participate in fraudulent activities knowingly, that may be a defense. Also, if there were misrepresentations in the documents you presented to the lender, but they did not affect the lending decision, that may reduce the penalties you face.
If you were accused of mortgage fraud but another person committed the crime, you may be able to show mistaken identity. These are only some examples of defenses that may apply.