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North Carolina loan officer sentenced to prison for mortgage fraud

For many people, owning a home is a big part of the American dream. A decade ago, purchasing a home was viewed as a smart financial move as home values continued to steadily increase. However, with the collapse of the housing market in 2007 home values, along with the rest of U.S. economy, began to plummet.

As investigations into the cause of the housing market collapse began to come to light, the questionable practices of financial institutions and mortgage providers came under scrutiny. Many of these practices were blamed for helping contribute to the housing market crash. As a result, Congress passed several laws and regulations aimed to protect U.S. consumers from what it deemed to be deceptive mortgage lending practices.

A North Carolina woman recently learned she will spend the next four plus years in federal prison for her role in a mortgage fraud operation. Investigators contend the 50-year-old loan officer, along with six other individuals, took action to help secure loans for unqualified customers.

According to the lawsuit, while attempting to secure Federal Housing Administration loans, the woman failed to verify the employment and income information of loan applicants. As a result, the approved FHA loan applications frequently contained incorrect information and resulted in many borrowers defaulting on their loans at a loss of more than $16 million dollars to the U.S. government.

Investigators charge the woman was paid commissions in excess of $156,000 for approving the fraudulent loans. They also contend that, upon learning of the federal investigation, the woman took steps to destroy documents detailing her illegal activities and involvement in the operation.

As the case detailed here proves, the penalties for individuals convicted of white collar crimes like mortgage fraud are serious. While in past years, subprime mortgage lenders routinely awarded mortgages to borrowers who failed to provide proof of their employment or incomes, the federal government no longer allows these types of lending practices.

Individuals who face criminal charges related to a financial crime like mortgage fraud would be wise to discuss their case with an attorney.

Source: Citizen-Times, "Ex-Asheville loan officer gets prison time in fraud," Sabian Warren, Aug. 5, 2014

Source: Citizen-Times, "Ex-Asheville loan officer gets prison time in fraud," Sabian Warren, Aug. 5, 2014

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