Mortgage loan commonly called a mortgage is used by buyers of real property to raise funds to buy a real estate or by existing property owners to raise fund for any purpose while putting a lien on the property being mortgaged. The lender will typically be a financial institution such as a bank, credit union or a building society.During a loan application for a mortgage, the applicant for personal reasons come out with illegal documentation for the transaction in order to obtain a loan or a larger loan from a lender. The borrower turns to misrepresent the material for collateral or manipulate the information on himself in the application. This is a criminal act aimed at achieving a selfish goal and which is punishable by law. For example in the United States the forms of mortgage fraud could be bank fraud, mail fraud, wire fraud which the person involved in the fraud can take a penalty of up to 30 years imprisonment.
Another part of mortgage fraud that is committed by the borrower or the lender is when the customer is deceived in what is called predatory mortgage lending.
Types of mortgage frauds
Occupancy fraud: This is act of misrepresenting the material which is used to obtain the mortgage loan at more favorable interest rates and term. This kind of fraud usually comes up when the borrower has in mind obtaining an investment property. Knowing that lenders charge larger interest rates on properties not used by the owner, the borrower will state in the loan application that the property acquired will serve as his primary or secondary home. The lender usually turn to put a higher interest rate on investment property because they have a higher rate of delinquency.
For a borrower to qualify for a loan of larger amount which is more than that his present income status can permit him to have, he turns to overstate his income. This kind of fraud mostly occurred in “stated income” mortgage loans (also commonly called liar “loans”). In some cases it was the officer in charge of assisting the borrower to obtain a given amount of loan which likely fit in a higher amount of income than that possessed by the borrower without his knowledge. This kind of fraud is seen as traditional since modern lenders no longer use the “stated income” loan. This was possible as the borrower could change information on the Form W-2 (Wage and tax statement).
Fraud on employment status
In many occasions a borrower falsify information on his employment status like claiming to work in a company that does not exist or giving a wrong information on the position he occupies as an act to justify fraud in borrower’s income.
Fraud for profit
This is a more complex field of fraud as it involves professionals in mortgage lending and multiple parties in an act of extracting huge amounts of money from a lender. The procedure in such a scenario involves the use of the credit report of a straw borrower, in which the monetary value of a property is intentionally overstated, a dishonest action involving a settlement agent who prepares two sets of HUD (Housing and Urban Development) settlement statements in order to acquire a non-merited large loan. At the end of the day the profit generated from such acts is shared among the parties involved.
Appraisal fraud: appraisal means to attach value to something based on estimation or judgment. In appraisal fraud the value on the appraised home could be overstated or understated. An overstated appraisal can occur in a situation where an existing debt obligation (structured asset backed security) wants to be replaced by another debt obligation, so the borrower obtains more money over present structure due to this fraudulent action.On the other hand, an appraisal fraud can be a situation where the borrower in a mortgage deliberately understate his property during the renewal of a mortgage due to modifications on the loan by the lender as a result tries to reduce the amount owed.
Shot gunning: this is a kind of mortgage fraud in which the borrower obtains multiple loans on the same home in a continue manner. At the end of the day the total amount collected excessed by far the total amount the house is worth. At the side of the lenders, they are exposed to losses because the property is not worth up to the amount the borrower collected from them, moreover, the other mortgages are secondary to the first one that was recorded and subsequently balanced in that order. Multiple lenders are involved in the same property it becomes difficult to designate who will own it in case of a foreclosure. Cases like this are exemplified in the Mathew Cox case.
Theft of identity: in this case a person assumes another person’s identity to obtain a mortgage without the consent or knowledge of the holder of the identity. The author of the crime subsequently disappear without making the payment of the mortgage. This kind of crime is only identified when the lender comes to reclaim his money and the person with the real identity then proves that he is not the actual person who took the loan.
Working the gap: this happens during a very narrow time frame in which excessive lien (this is a legal claim involving a charge on a property as a result of a debt or duty) stacking is deliberately done on a specific property. Multiple Deeds of Trust, serial recording gives this narrow breach for working the gap that is the laps of tie between when the Deed of Trust is handed to the Record of Deeds and when the records actually shows on the data. Since the liens is not easily detected by a lender during the working gap, this is used by the perpetrator to deceive the lender and the perpetrator in this case is referred to as a white collar criminal.