In South Carolina, mortgage fraud is a serious crime and one punished by significant penalties. This type of fraud can be committed by lenders and borrowers. Essentially, this type of fraud occurs when someone deliberately or intentionally omits critical information used to fund, purchase, or insure a mortgage loan. If you have made an honest mistake on your application or were wrongly misled by the mortgage company, you will need a determined Chesterfield Criminal Defense Lawyer on your side. Keep reading to learn about the potential penalties you may face if convicted of mortgage fraud in South Carolina.
What is mortgage fraud in South Carolina?
Mortgage fraud occurs when a lender or a borrower lies or intentionally tries to omit pertinent information during the mortgage application process to make a profit. Typically, this criminal offense is considered a white-collar crime. When you want to buy a home and you cannot pay the full cost of the house out of pocket, you may apply for a mortgage. When seeking a mortgage, you will be required to fill out an application and provide honest answers to the lender. If you knowingly make misstatements or provide fraudulent information that omits important information, this is considered residential fraud.
However, this is not the only form of mortgage fraud. Additionally, lenders can also commit this crime to make a profit. When a lender commits this type of fraud, it is often referred to as professional fraud. These schemes can involve multiple parties who have colluded to cheat borrowers to make money. Professional fraud can be prosecuted in federal court as the crime may involve crossing state lines. That being said, if you commit professional mortgage fraud, you can face federal penalties.
What are the potential penalties?
In South Carolina, if you commit this type of fraud you will be subject to an array of harsh penalties as fraud charges can result in a felony conviction at either the state or federal level. This may not surprise many, but this criminal offense is punishable by hefty fines. If you are convicted of a single count of a federal mortgage fraud scheme, it can result in a fine of up to $1 million. At the state level, you will likely be subject to fines of up to $100,000. Additionally, you will likely be faced with restitution. Essentially, you will have to pay restitution to the victims of your crime. Furthermore, you could face a lengthy sentence. If you commit federal fraud it can result in up to 30 years of jail time. As you can see, mortgage fraud penalties are significant.
If you have been charged with mortgage fraud or are being investigated, it is in your best interest to retain a qualified Chesterfield criminal defense attorney. Our firm is prepared to defend your rights and interests and prevent harsh penalties associated with this criminal offense.