Thirteen face federal mail fraud charges in connection with mortgage fraud scheme in Broward and Palm Beach counties

Thirteen South Florida residents face federal criminal charges in connection with a mortgage fraud scheme in Broward and Palm Beach Counties, according to the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida.

A federal criminal defense attorney in Miami will take a hard look at this case and conduct a thorough review of the allegations. Federal conspiracy charges can be particularly challenging because they don’t even require that a crime be committed — only that a defendant intended or planned to engage in an illegal activity. This makes it a favorite of federal prosecutors. Obstruction of justice is also alleged and this charge is frequently lodged against a defendant who refused to cooperate with investigators and/or testify against co-defendants. A defendant has that right and a Miami defense lawyer experienced in fighting federal charges can frequently seek to have such charges dismissed.

The defendants, who range in age for 21 to 42, reside primarily in the Plantation, Florida area. The indictment was unsealed at the Federal Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale and comes after an investigation by state and federal officials, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Postal Service. They are charged with one count of conspiracy, 11 counts of mail fraud, 13 counts of wire fraud, and eight counts of making false statements to a government agency. Two defendants are charged with obstructing justice.

Mail fraud and wire fraud charges are also favorites of law enforcement because they carry substantial penalties when it can be proven that a defendant used the postal system or other forms of communication in connection with a crime. Each charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.

The indictment alleges the defendants purchased properties in Broward and Palm Beach counties by submitting false or fraudulent documents to mortgage lenders in order to obtain loans. More than $16 million was obtained. Authorities accuse the defendants of using false leases and bank account balances, as well as inflated income or salary levels in order to qualify for loans.

Two attorneys are also accused of handling the closings of the fraudulent property transactions. Several mortgage brokers were also indicted.

These cases are becoming commonplace in South Florida. While we don’t have all the facts of this particular case, putting attorneys, mortgage brokers and real estate agents under federal criminal indictment for routine work conducted as a part of their profession is an aggressive reach on the part of law enforcement. Many of these cases are no different than a majority of transactions conducted during the real estate boom, when loans were freely awarded with little or no documentation and agents and attorneys were handling dozens of cases each month. Hiring an aggressive Miami defense lawyer experienced in defending clients against real estate fraud or mortgage fraud is the best court of action to protect your rights, your reputation and your financial well-being.