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Residential Mortgage Fraud In The Second Degree: New York Penal Law 187.20

When you apply for a mortgage, you submit paperwork that allows you to seek a preapproval and a subsequent mortgage. The preapproval process is very important in New York. Most realtors won’t even deal with a buyer who doesn’t have a preapproval letter from a lender. Even if a realtor will deal with you, you will find that many sellers won’t take offers or even show their homes to those who haven’t a preapproval. To get this preapproval for a mortgage, you’re required to submit an application outlining your credit, how much money you make, and other financial information. The bank uses this information to figure out what you qualify for so they can issue you a preapproval.

Once you have the pre-approval in hand, you go shopping for a home. When you make an offer and it’s accepted, your job now is to provide proof of all the information you already submitted to the bank for your pre-approval. This means you must submit proof of your income, your assets, and your personal situation. If you decide to lie on your application so you can be approved for more, you hurt yourself in more than one way. For one, you can’t just ask for as much money as you need to buy a home if you don’t have the income to repay the loan. Secondly, it’s illegal to submit false information to a bank. It’s called mortgage fraud.

The Varying Degrees of Mortgage Fraud

There are five degrees of mortgage fraud in New York. Each one is more serious than the others, and residential mortgage fraud in the second degree is one of the most serious versions of this crime. If you are accused of this, it’s because you provided inaccurate and false information to a lender in hopes of securing a mortgage that’s more than you can afford. Your falsified information must result in a profit of at least $50,001 but not more than $1 million.

Breaking it down helps you understand what it means to defraud a lender. Let’s say you add an additional $50,000 income to your paperwork when you apply for a mortgage and then create a false tax return that appears to support this income when you apply for a mortgage. That additional $50,000 income you show allows you to qualify for a mortgage that’s $100,000 more than what you qualify for when you list only your actual income.

This is second-degree residential mortgage fraud. You are now facing five to 15 years in prison for these lies, and there is nothing you can do about it if you’re found guilty. Even if you are someone who has never been in trouble with the law before, you still face a minimum of five years in prison. If you have a prior felony conviction anytime in the decade prior to your arrest for residential mortgage fraud in the second degree, you face at least seven years in prison for this crime.

It’s considered a class C felony in New York. A felony charge is not good, and it can affect the rest of your life. If you are charged with this felony, you go to jail. When you are done serving your jail term, you face probation. You’re also required to pay restitution. You are also required to live the rest of your life with a felony conviction on your official record.

This makes it nearly impossible to secure gainful employment to earn a living and care for your family. You won’t be able to buy a home, rental owners might deny your application because of your felony conviction, and you won’t find many employers willing to hire a convicted felon to work with or for them.

Call an Attorney

Being charged with Residential Mortgage Fraud in the Second Degree could change your entire life if you are convicted, which is why you cannot hesitate to call an attorney. There is nothing worse than denying yourself an experienced attorney when you are charged with a crime like this. You deserve help and finding it is the only way you’re going to protect your future.

Your attorney can help you prove your case. Maybe you didn’t know you were lying on your application because you didn’t understand what it was asking for. Perhaps you didn’t fill it out and allowed your spouse to do it. He lied without your knowledge. Perhaps you merely made a mistake and feel bad about it. Your attorney can help you with your case, ask for reduced charges, and even negotiate a lesser prison term. An attorney is on your side, and they can only benefit you if you are arrested for a crime this serious.

by Leonard on Spodek Law Group
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