Fraudulent loans take on many different forms. The victims may be individuals or financial institutions. Fraudulent loan schemes generally prey on vulnerable consumers. The unemployed, those who have bad credit ratings, or those in immediate need of money for emergencies. Here we’re going to take a look at some of the more common forms of fraudulent loans, and how you can avoid becoming a victim, or even accidentally committing fraud yourself.
Mortgage fraud is the most common form of loan fraud, and the most costly. The victims can be banks or individuals. And sometimes individuals can perpetrate fraud without even knowing it. “Creative financing” is a term that has been used in the mortgage industry for a long time now. Unfortunately, many times it forces the consumer to commit fraud without even realizing it. Here are a few examples of some things that a mortgage applicant may do which would constitute mortgage fraud:
- Over appraising a property value. Happen to be good friends with an appraiser? Maybe he bumped up your house value by a little bit to help you get a higher selling price. If that’s the case, it’s mortgage fraud.
- Applying for a “stated income” mortgage? Maybe you exaggerated your income a little bit to help get a lower interest rate. That’s not creative financing, that’s mortgage fraud.
Kickbacks, false deposits, lying about residency, lying about employment, repayment of gifts, and many other common activities may be construed as fraud. Unfortunately, some unscrupulous mortgage brokers looking for a quick buck may actively encourage you to engage in fraud, and even convince you that it’s perfectly legal. According to the FBI, mortgage fraud is defined as “any material misstatement, misrepresentation or omission relied upon by an underwriter or lender to fund, purchase or insure a loan.” If you feel that you may be asked to break the law on your mortgage application, at the very least consult your attorney. Ignorance of the law is no excuse, and mortgage fraud is a federal crime.
Mortgage Fraud By Insiders
The mortgage industry is just as competitive as any other industry, and unfortunately many companies are willing to do whatever it takes to make a profit, even if that means breaking the law. A very common form of mortgage fraud comes from mortgage brokers. Whether it’s encouraging clients to lie on documents, or forging documents without their knowledge, insider fraud is very common.
Other Types Of Fraudulent Loans
Other types of fraudulent loans may include applying for a loan with a fake identity, forging loan documentation, or even posing as a financial institution in order to collect a down payment on an alleged loan, and disappearing after receiving the cash.
First of all, if you’re being encouraged to falsify any information on your loan documents, be wary. Seek legal counseling, because even if you’re “tricked” into committing mortgage fraud, it’s still a very serious crime, and you can be prosecuted. Second, protect your personal information. In order for someone to apply for a fraudulent loan in your name, they need your personal information. Be very cautious about who you give this information out to. It’s also a good idea to keep a close eye on your credit report. If you do fall victim, the sooner you catch the sooner you can prevent yourself from incurring any financial damages.
Five Crucial Documents
The five most crucial documents in the analysis of any loan fraud file are: (1) the HUD-1; (2) the loan application (1003); (3) the loan submission form (1008); (4) the escrow instructions; and (5) the preliminary title report. These few documents often serve as a blueprint of the fraud, showing the trail of money and the identity of the people who stood to gain. Properly analyzing and highlighting these documents will assist your attorney in more effectively representing you, and in developing a plan of attack. The effectiveness of your attorney increases exponentially if he or she can litigate your case, i.e., examine witnesses, conduct depositions, etc., having a complete knowledge of the motivations and involvement of each of the parties.
Recommended Further Reading: Loan Fraud Litigation