Mortgage Fraud: A Lawyer's Guide | Diamond & Diamond

Mortgage Fraud: A Real Estate Lawyer's Guide

Applying for a mortgage? Here is what you need to know about mortgage fraud.

The mortgage interest rates are near record lows right now, making it more appealing and affordable for homeowners to apply for a mortgage loan. Yet, it is still very difficult to qualify for one due to stringent pre-approval rules. With more individuals having a hard time getting a mortgage comes a risk of being involved in mortgage fraud. Mortgage fraud is one of the most common ones. It occurs when an individual deliberately misrepresents or withholds information to obtain mortgage financing.

Some of the common examples of mortgage fraud include misstating or inflating the borrower’s current financial situation such as a job position or status, income, or the length of employment. It is also considered to be mortgage fraud if the borrower fails to disclose vital information such as existence of other mortgages, debts, or the fact that the property being mortgaged is a rental property. Another example of mortgage fraud arises in a situation when a person is acting as a “straw buyer”. This happens when a person with good credit score is used to apply for a mortgage for someone else. Borrowers who knowingly misrepresent facts on a mortgage application, fabricate documents, or act as a “straw buyer” to obtain mortgage financing are all committing mortgage fraud and can face dire consequences, including being held criminally responsible for misrepresentation.

When applying for a mortgage, you should always provide accurate information on your mortgage application, use a licensed mortgage agent or broker, and read over all documents before signing anything. Should you ever be in doubt, have a lawyer review your mortgage documents to ensure you understand every intricate detail.

The content of this article does not constitute legal advice and is for general informational purposes only.

Mortgage Fraud: A Real Estate Lawyer’s Guide FAQs

What are the types of mortgage fraud?

There are several types of mortgage fraud. Understanding and knowing these can help you recognize and avoid them. There are four major types of mortgage fraud:

  • mortgage fraud for title
  • mortgage foreclosure fraud
  • mortgage fraud for housing
  • mortgage fraud for profit

How to avoid mortgage fraud?

To avoid mortgage fraud, remember to do the following:

Secure referrals from real estate and mortgage professionals Consult an attorney before signing documents that you don’t understand. Do not sign anything you aren’t comfortable with Read all the loan documents carefully to ensure all the information is accurate and true

Check the property’s title history to find out how often the property has been sold and resold

Don’t borrow more than you can afford to repay

What is the penalty for mortgage fraud in Canada?

If a real estate agent or broker committed mortgage fraud or title fraud, they can be:

  • Sued in civil court for recovery of the loss incurred Charged criminally for fraud
  • Reported to their governing body, which can revoke their registration
  • Have their assets or trust funds frozen

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