A federal grand jury recently indicted a group of people based on prosecutors’ allegations that they participated in a scheme to defraud mortgage brokers out of $1.8 million in thirteen different real estate transactions. The charges allegedly involve Access E-Mortgage, Inc., a company out of St. Augustine, Florida. Based on a recent article, the prosecutors are using the federal mail and wire fraud statutes to charge the individuals. The indictment charges a total of sixteen individuals allegedly involved in the scheme. According to the indictment, the scheme involved recruiting straw buyers who would give false information to the mortgage brokers to obtain loans. The loaned funds would then allegedly be stolen by the people involved in the scheme.
We have handled several recent cases involving alleged mortgage fraud over the last several months. As we discussed on our website before, the federal government has taken a greater interest in these cases and attributed more time, manpower and other resources to make mortgage fraud cases. This appears to be a reaction to the publicity the failing housing market and numerous foreclosures have had over the last couple of years. With the federal government, and the state and local government to a lesser degree, it seems like prosecutions in a particular area often follow the news of the day. As the housing market and foreclosures have become more of an issue in the media, the number of mortgage fraud cases have increased. Sometimes, this reaction to newsworthy issues can result in people being arrested and charged with crimes who have little to no involvement in the criminal activity. When the government casts a wide net, some innocent people often get caught.