A New Jersey, a police officer, was arrested based on a obtaining a mortgage loan that he obtained through false representations.
According to the Complaint, he and his wife own property in Secaucus, New Jersey which they purchased in June 2000 with a thirty-year mortgage for $513,700. Around March 2008, in order to purchase a multi-family dwelling in Jersey City, he applied for another loan with the same lender. During the loan application interview he failed to declare his outstanding mortgage liability on his existing home property; then falsely reported that he rented, rather than owned, the property; and falsely stated that he had not had an ownership interest in any property in the last three years. The Complaint further alleges that by signing a Uniform Residential Loan Application for the new property that these statements were "true and accurate." The Complaint also alleges that he signed and provided documents in which he falsely stated that he was a first-time home buyer.
According to the Complaint issued on March 8, 2010, the police officer has admitted to Special Agents of the FBI that he deliberately did not list the Secaucus, New Jersey property on his application to obtain the mortgage for the new property. He believed he would not qualify for the new mortgage by doing so. The Complaint also states that the mortgage obtained in 2000, is currently in default and in the process of foreclosure.
The bank fraud charge carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison and a $1,000,000 fine. In determining an actual sentence, the judge to whom the case is eventually assigned would, upon a conviction, consult the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, which provide appropriate sentencing ranges that take into account the severity and characteristics of the offense, the defendant's criminal history, if any, and other factors. The judge, however, is not bound by those guidelines in determining a sentence. Parole has been abolished in the federal system. Defendants who are given custodial terms must serve nearly all that time.
Please remember that each defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt following a trial at which the defendant has all of the trial rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and federal law.
We should praise the work done by U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman and Special Agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Michael Ward, with the investigation leading to the Indictment. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Leslie Faye Schwartz of the U.S. Attorney Office's Strike Force unit in Newark.
You know when the government gets involved in a problem, not only is it big but costly. Someone has to pay those agents to track down fraud, someone has to pay to prosecute all those fraudsters, and if convicted someone has to pay to feed, clothe, and shelter them.
Who? Who will bear the brunt of these costs? You, me, and unwitting homeowners who would never in a million years think of committing real estate fraud. The only way such costs can be avoided is to eliminate, or greatly reduce, the problem.
The faster we can all help prevent mortgage fraud, the sooner all of these costs could be reduced, thus saving homeowners and we the taxpayer money…and we could return some integrity to the home financing industry
We must be vigilant against fraud, recognizing its signs and taking proactive, definite, and realistic steps to not only prevent it but also punish it.
It starts with me.
It starts with you.
It starts with us…
You are all encouraged to report any suspected mortgage fraud activity to authorities, www.PreventLoanScams.org
Michael S. Richardson
Director/Mortgage Fraud Services
Author of "An American Epidemic, Mortgage Fraud a Serious Business"
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