When you buy a home – whether its your primary home or a vacation home – most folks need to apply for a loan to finance a portion of their investment. When you’re going through all the documents, it is important to understand exactly what you’re saying.
The real estate and mortgage fraud cases that dominate the headlines usually have to do with fraud for profit. A ringleader conspires with industry insiders – usually a real estate agent, appraiser, and loan officer – to obtain mortgage loans they have no intention of ever repaying.
Another form of mortgage fraud is also common – fraud for housing. According to an FBI source, "Fraud for housing represents illegal actions perpetrated solely by the borrower. The simple motive behind this fraud is to acquire and maintain ownership of a house under false pretenses. This type of fraud is typified by a borrower who makes misrepresentations regarding his income or employment history to qualify for a loan."
Fraud for housing may include any of the following attempts to deceive the lender into approving a mortgage loan:
Whenever you apply for a mortgage loan, you must sign the application – technically referred to as a 1003 (ten-oh-three) or Uniform Residential Loan Application. Just above the space for your signature is a statement worded something like this:
I/We fully understand that it is a federal crime punishable by fine or imprisonment, or both, to knowingly make any false statements concerning any of the above facts as applicable under the provisions of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1001, et seq.
In other words, it is a felony to lie on a loan application, whether for profit or housing.
Some people argue that fraud for housing is a victimless crime. After all, the person applying for the mortgage loan really wants to keep the house and has every intention of making the monthly payments and paying off the debt. However, that’s beside the point. The real issue is that when people commit fraud for housing, they mislead the lender into approving a loan that is riskier than the lender would otherwise consider. It contributes to increases in foreclosures and the cost of mortgages to all consumers.
Ralph R. Roberts, GRI, CRS is a real estate and mortgage fraud forensics expert and author of Protect Yourself from Real Estate and Mortgage Fraud: Preserving the American Dream of Homeownership (Kaplan Publishing).
During the real estate bubble, this type of loan fraud was sadly prevalent. In fact, many professionals agree this very issue caused a large portion of the inflated prices and has now left many would-be flippers and investors "holding the bag." Laws are in place for a reason, and its very important we follow them and banks enforce them.
If you’re looking for a primary home or a vacation home and are unsure of your financial situation, let us know! We have experience in both conventional and unconventional financing that will put you in your new home without putting you in a dangerous situation.
John and Jessica Poltrock – The POLTROCK TEAM at RE/MAX Mountain Properties – www.MyMurphy.com – JohnPoltrock@gmail.com – Real estate in the Mountains of North Carolina – Call Toll-Free (877) 837-3002 and demand The POLTROCK TEAM!