Our Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorneys continue to see a large number of state and federal fraud cases connected to the economic downturn and the collapse of the real estate market. In many cases, mortgage professionals, real estate agents and even attorneys are accused of fraud in connection with real estate investments during the boom years. Having given money to anyone with a pulse during the boom, these same banks are now crying foul and seeking all means of restitution. In many cases, defendants are guilty of nothing more than making bad investments. Or they were caught up in the downturn and financially ruined like so many other struggling South Florida homeowners.
During the two-month trial, prosecutors argued the defendants lied about their incomes and places of residents in order to obtain loans that would have been out of reach of their salaries. The defendants, including four police officers, a former police officer, and an FBI agent, argue they were betrayed by dishonest mortgage brokers who forged signatures and inserted false information into the lending documents.
Charges are pending against two other Plantation police officers as part of a mortgage fraud investigation that alleges one of the defendants coordinated more than $16 million in fraudulent loans on properties in Broward and Palm Beach counties.
Federal prosecutors argue the documents were so blatantly fraudulent that there is no way the officers could not have realized something was wrong. They accuse defendants of inflating their income, exaggerating their job titles and of promising to live in homes where they had no intentions of residing.
One of the officers obtained $2.5 million in loans on seven different properties, despite living on a salary of about $55,000 a year.
But the fact remains, many, many people could be charged with inflating or overstating earnings in the age of no-doc or so-called “liar” loans. Had the market not crashed, the officers would have likely turned the real estate, repaid the loans and made a profit. Yet state and federal officials have become increasingly aggressive in filing charges in such cases … as if the banks need the help as the middle-class continues to struggle with the consequences of the recession.
If you are facing mortgage fraud charges in Broward or Palm Beach counties, contact the Law Offices of Leifert & Leifert, a Partnership of Former Prosecutors, for a free consultation to discuss your rights. Call 1.888.5.DEFEND.