Miami real estate fraud cases abound; advice of qualified attorney vital to protecting the rights of victims and defendants

Eight defendants face federal charges in connection with a mortgage fraud scheme in Miami, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The details of this case illustrate the need to consult with an experienced Miami mortgage fraud lawyer in the event that you are targeted by a mortgage fraud investigation or have been victimized by a fraud scheme. There is often a fine line between aggressive investing and fraud. A quick read of this case shows the defendants obtained mortgage loans with little or no verification, flipped the properties, and used the proceeds to buy more properties with the same intentions. Sounds like just about everybody involved in real estate investing during South Florida’s red-hot market. When the market collapsed, the payments stopped and a number of mortgage companies were left with a loss — including Countrywide, a notorious company that has been repeatedly accused of playing so fast and loose with the rules that it doesn’t even exist anymore.

The Associated Press reports that Florida led the nation in reports of mortgage fraud cases, which increased 7 percent last year. And the newly appointed head of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida has promised a continuing crackdown, according to the Palm Beach Post.

Of increasing concern from a legal standpoint, will be defending clients who made poor investment choices, or who were hurt by the crashing market, from being held criminally responsible. Critical to protecting the rights of defendants will be hiring a Miami criminal defense attorney with extensive experience handling mortgage fraud cases.

The investigation involved the FBI, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and the Miami-Dade Police Department. The defendants, ranging in age from 39 to 63, face a number of federal charges, including bank and wire fraud. Authorities allege they engaged in a Miami mortgage fraud scheme, which defrauded three financial institutions of approximately $5 million.

According to authorities, several of the defendants were employed at Infinity Mortgage Solutions in Miami, where they engaged in the fraudulent financing of at least eight residential mortgages in Miami-Dade County. They allegedly recruited purchasers, sometimes called “straw buyers,” and obtained loans through the mortgage company without performing the necessary verification. Several of the defendants in the case are accused of acting as buyers in the scheme.

After purchasing a property, authorities contend the group made mortgage payments until the properties could be flipped for a higher price. The money was used to purchase additional properties. However, eventually the defendant’s stopped making payments, resulting in significant losses to Countrywide Home Loans, Fremont Investment & Loan, WMC Mortgage and other lenders.

“The FBI views mortgage fraud as a significant crime problem,” Special Agent in Charge John Gillies said.”The mortgage lending and housing market have a considerable overall effect on the nation’s economy and combating mortgage fraud will remain a top priority for the FBI.”