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White Collar Crime

Crimes for Mortgage Fraud in Florida

When mortgage fraud is prosecuted in state court it is often prosecuted under Florida Statute § 817.545(2) & (5).

The crime of “Mortgage Fraud” may not be predicated solely upon information lawfully disclosed under federal disclosure laws, regulations, or interpretations related to the mortgage lending process. See § 817.545(3) Fla. Stat.

The jury instructions for mortgage fraud also recognize that “omissions on a loan application regarding employment, income, or assets for a loan which does not require this information are not considered material omissions for purposes of Mortgage Fraud. § 817.545(1) Fla. Stat.”

The most serious penalties for mortgage fraud involve loan values stated on documents used in the mortgage lending process that exceed $100,000.

Attorney for Mortgage Fraud Crimes in Tampa, FL

If you were accused of Mortgage Fraud in Florida then it is important to talk with a criminal defense attorney as early in the case as possible. Never talk to any state or federal law enforcement officer about any allegation of mortgage fraud until after you have spoken with a criminal defense attorney.

We represent clients accused of fraud during the “mortgage lending process” which includes process of obtaining a residential mortgage loan from the solicitation, application or origination, negotiation of terms, third-party provider services, underwriting, closing, through the funding of the loan.

The attorneys at the Sammis Law Firm represent clients with different types of fraud accusations, including mortgage fraud, throughout the Tampa Bay area in and around Hillsborough County, FL, including Hernando County, Pasco County, Pinellas County, Manatee County, Sarasota County, and Polk County, FL.

If you are under investigation for any type of white collar crime including mortgage fraud, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at the Sammis Law Firm.  Contact us today for a free, confidential consultation.

Call (813) 250-0500.

Florida’s Standard Jury Instruction for Mortgage Fraud

One way to understand Florida law in mortgage fraud cases is to look carefully at the standard jury instructions. For mortgage fraud cases, the standard jury instructions were just adopted in 2013.

The jury instructions for Mortgage Fraud in Florida provide that in order to prove the crime of Mortgage Fraud, the prosecutor for the State of Florida must prove that the defendant knowingly with the intent to defraud and did one of the following:

a. made any material misstatement, misrepresentation, or omission during the mortgage lending process with the intent that the misstatement, misrepresentation or omission would be relied on by a mortgage lender, a borrower, or any other person or entity involved in the mortgage lending process;

b. used or facilitated the use of any material misstatement, misrepresentation or omission during the mortgage lending process with the intent that the material misstatement, misrepresentation, or omission would be relied on by a mortgage lender, a borrower, or any other person or entity involved in the mortgage lending process;

c. received any proceeds or other funds in connection with the mortgage lending process that he or she knew resulted from the making of any material misstatement, misrepresentation or omission during the mortgage lending process that was made with the intent that the misstatement, misrepresentation, omission would be relied on by a mortgage lender, a borrower; or any other person or entity involved in the mortgage lending process;

d. received any proceeds or other funds in connection with the mortgage lending process that he or she knew resulted from the use of any material misstatement, misrepresentation, omission during the mortgage lending process that was made with the intent that the material misstatement misrepresentation, omission would be relied on by a mortgage lender, a borrower; or any other person or entity involved in the mortgage lending process;

e. filed or caused to be filed with the clerk of the circuit court for any Florida county a document involved in the mortgage lending process which contained a material misstatement, misrepresentation, or omission.

Regarding the enhancement provision listed in § 817.545(5)(b) Fla. Stat., the standard jury instructions for mortgage fraud provide:

If you find that the defendant guilty of Mortgage Fraud, you must also determine if the State proved beyond a reasonable doubt whether the loan value stated on documents used in the mortgage lending process exceeded $100,000. § 817.545(2)(a) & (b) Fla. Stat.

Definition of Documents in Mortgage Lending Process for the Mortgage Fraud Statute

Florida law defines the term “documents involved in the mortgage lending process” to include the following:

  • mortgages;
  • deeds;
  • HUD-1 settlement statements;
  • appraisal reports;
  • surveys;
  • inspection reports;
  • uniform residential loan applications;
  • other loan applications;
  • supporting personal documentation for loan applications including:
    • W-2 forms;
    • payroll stubs;
    • bank statements;
    • credit reports;
    • tax returns;
    • verifications of income and employment; and
    • any required disclosures.

Florida law defines the term “knowingly” in the context of a mortgage fraud case to mean that the defendant is aware of the act and is not acting through ignorance, mistake or accident.

In a mortgage fraud case in Florida, the term “material” is defined to mean a fact a reasonable person would use to decide whether to do or not to do something. A fact is material if it has the capacity or natural tendency to influence a person’s decision. Any misrepresentation or concealment must be reasonably calculated to deceive persons of ordinary prudence and comprehension. Definition. § 817.545(1) Fla. Stat.

Florida law defines the term “mortgage lending process” to mean “the process through which a person seeks or obtains a residential mortgage loan, including, but not limited to, the solicitation, application or origination, negotiation of terms, third-party provider services, underwriting, signing and closing, and funding of the loan.”

This article was last updated on Friday, July 31, 2020.

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