|Mortgage fraud has devastating effects not just on the victims directly, but also on whole communities. |
The economic downturn of recent years has created difficulties for many people trying to make their monthly mortgage payments. Many homeowners desperately search for ways to save their houses from foreclosure. Unfortunately, unscrupulous criminals take advantage of homeowners’ distress, making promises they don’t intend to keep. Instead of rescuing people in danger of losing their homes, they often put them into an even more dire economic state, exploiting the situation for their own advantage.
There are many different mortgage fraud schemes in the United States today. Fraud-for-profit schemes are the most common. Examples of this type of scam include:
- The criminal claims to be connected to a legitimate government program. He charges fees to “negotiate” on behalf of the homeowner. The homeowner pays cash up front to the scammer who pockets the money without providing any real assistance.
- The scammer offers older homeowners the opportunity to obtain a reverse mortgage. The homeowner signs the paperwork, but instead of receiving a reverse mortgage, he or she has signed the deed to their home over to the criminal. The scammer then sells the house, profits from it, and evicts the legitimate homeowner.
- The criminal claims to be able to stop the foreclosure process for a fee. The homeowners pay the fee believing it will save their home. Instead, they lose both their home and the cash paid to the scammer.
These are just a few examples of the myriad ways in which scammers try to take advantage of homeowners during desperate times.
NW3C offers a 2 ½-day mortgage fraud course for law enforcement. Upon completing the class, law enforcement will be equipped to identify mortgage fraud scams and their perpetrators. The class walks students through real-life examples and allows them the opportunity to explore and work through a mortgage fraud case. Many times mortgage fraud encompasses other crimes, and these topics will be explored as well.
Mortgage fraud has devastating effects not just on the victims directly, but also on whole communities. Learn more about it and help take its perpetrators off the streets. NW3C’s next mortgage fraud class will be offered August 27, 2014 in Tampa, FL. For more information and to register, please visit: http://www.nw3c.org/training/financial-crimes/60.