Mortgage fraud is the intentional falsification of information on a mortgage loan application generally to have the loan approved in an amount greater than the applicant would have received otherwise.
Mortgage fraud is a real crime with real criminal penalties, and may also be the basis for civil litigation. The problem is that mortgage fraud is often difficult to prove. A comprehensive investigation – like the kind available from a member of Trustify’s network of highly-skilled and experienced private investigators can make all the difference in a mortgage fraud case.
What is a Mortgage Fraud Investigation?
Mortgage fraud comes in a number of forms. According to the FBI, what they all have in common is that each one “contains some type of ‘material misstatement, misrepresentation, or omission relating to the property or potential mortgage relied on by an underwriter or lender to fund, purchase or insure a loan.’” Perpetrators of mortgage fraud also come in many guises from experienced and highly-placed large-scale real estate professionals to inexperienced individual loan applicants.
Common mortgage schemes include:
- Housing or Property Mortgage Fraud: The most common typically involves single borrowers providing false information on their loan applications regarding assets, income level, employment, etc.
- Mortgage Fraud for Profit: This type of mortgage fraud is relatively complex and normally involves a number of players, including industry insiders (brokers, agents, appraisers, loan officers), sellers who overstate the value of their properties, and “straw” buyers and borrowers who have no intention of paying off their loans. Participants create phony loan documents, such as fake employment records, IRS forms, etc., to help procure the fraudulent loan.
- Mortgage Fraud Incidental to Money Laundering: This involves using mortgage fraud activities to launder “dirty” money (from illegal sales, for example) through real estate transactions.
Mortgage fraud investigations are conducted to catch these schemes in the process through the verification of information provided in loan applications, and by ferreting out fraudulent claims and phony documentation.
Who Initiates a Mortgage Fraud Investigation?
Anyone involved in the mortgage process may be interested in initiating a mortgage fraud investigation, including: lenders (banks), brokers, insurance companies, and even real estate buyers and sellers.
Starting a Mortgage Fraud Investigation
There are four basic steps in the Trustify mortgage fraud investigation process:
1. Request a Consultation: Submit your case online or by phone to schedule your consultation. We'll ask for the details we need to get your case matched with an investigator and provide a cost estimate for your case.
2. Consult With a Private Investigator: A licensed private investigator will contact you to talk to you about the purpose and goals of the investigation, and to collect any relevant information about your case. You’ll be asked a number of important questions, including:
- What is your interest in the property that is the subject of the suspected mortgage fraud?
- Do you have reason to believe that the mortgage seeker has lied or misrepresented himself or herself on the loan application?
- Have you reported your suspicions of fraud to law enforcement? If so, do you have a police/investigation report?
- Are you currently involved in a lawsuit or other legal proceeding in connection with the suspected mortgage fraud? Do you intend to use the findings of this investigation in a court of law or in support of a civil claim?
- Have you obtained legal counsel in regard to this matter?
- What are your expectations and goals for the investigation?
3. Investigation in Progress: Once approved by you, your investigator will begin the investigation. Methods and techniques employed during the investigation will vary depending on the specifics of your case and the laws of the applicable jurisdictions, but will typically include:
- Comprehensive background checks of all parties suspected of participation in fraudulent activities.
- Full search of all relevant public and otherwise legally-obtainable records, including all documentation submitted in support of the mortgage application.
- Covert operations, such as physical surveillance of suspected parties to the fraud.
4. Case Updates & Final Report: Your Trustify investigator will keep you informed of any and all important developments throughout the course of your mortgage fraud investigation, and provide you with a final written report summarizing all findings at the investigation’s conclusion. In addition, your private investigator may be available to testify on your behalf in court, if necessary and agreed-upon before the start of the investigation.
What Investigators Will Not Do
Trustify and the private investigators in its network are bound to follow the law and the ethical standards of their profession at all times. The investigator, therefore, will never attempt to obtain documents whose access is restricted by federal or state law, including specifically protected banking, financial and phone records. The investigator will pursue all legal resources during a mortgage fraud investigation.