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What is the punishment for mortgage fraud in New Jersey?

March 21, 2024 Uncategorized

 

Punishment for Mortgage Fraud in New Jersey

Mortgage fraud is a big problem in New Jersey and across the country. It involves lying or leaving out important information to get a mortgage loan. Mortgage fraud hurts lenders, homeowners, and the whole housing market. So it’s taken very seriously in New Jersey.

If you commit mortgage fraud in New Jersey, you could face fines, probation, having to pay back money, and even jail time. The exact punishment depends on a few things:

  • How much money was involved
  • If it was your first offense
  • If the fraud was against the state or federal government

Let’s break down the possible punishments for mortgage fraud in New Jersey.

Fines

Expect to pay big fines if convicted of mortgage fraud in New Jersey. For fraud involving less than $75,000, you could pay fines up to $150,000. And for fraud over $75,000, fines could be up to $250,000 or more.

Fines are meant to punish you and discourage mortgage fraud. They can be a huge burden on top of other penalties.

Jail Time

Mortgage fraud is a felony in New Jersey. So you could end up serving jail time if convicted.

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For fraud under $75,000, expect 1 to 10 years in prison. Over $75,000 could mean 10 to 20 years behind bars. And in extreme cases with very large fraud amounts, you might face 25 years or more.

First-time offenders sometimes get probation instead of jail. But don’t count on it with mortgage fraud.

Probation

Probation means serving your sentence under supervision outside of jail. You’d have to check in regularly with a probation officer.

You’d likely get 3 to 5 years probation for smaller mortgage fraud. And up to 20 years probation for fraud over $75,000.

Probation has strict rules. You might have to do community service, get job training, or submit to drug tests. Break the rules and you could end up in jail.

Paying Restitution

If convicted of mortgage fraud, expect to pay back any money you got illegally. This repayment is called restitution.

The court will order you to pay restitution to lenders, government agencies, or other victims. You’ll probably have to pay back every penny plus interest.

And you’ll likely have to pay restitution in addition to fines and other penalties.

Federal vs. State Penalties

Mortgage fraud can be charged at the state or federal level. Federal charges are for crimes across state lines or against federal programs.

State penalties in New Jersey often include:

  • 1 to 10 years in prison
  • Up to $150,000 in fines
  • 3 to 5 years probation

Federal penalties can be much harsher:

  • Up to 30 years in federal prison
  • Fines up to $1 million
  • 5 to 20 years probation

So you want to avoid federal mortgage fraud charges if at all possible.

Defenses Against Mortgage Fraud

Fighting mortgage fraud charges starts with a strong defense. Here are some common defenses in New Jersey:

  • You didn’t intend to defraud anyone
  • You made an honest mistake on paperwork
  • You were entrapped by police
  • You were coerced or threatened into committing fraud
  • You have an alibi proving you weren’t involved

A skilled New Jersey criminal defense lawyer can evaluate defenses for your case. They may be able to get charges reduced or dismissed.

How Lawyers Can Help

Never try to handle mortgage fraud charges alone. These cases are too complex even for experienced lawyers.

A dedicated mortgage fraud attorney can:

  • Negotiate with prosecutors for reduced charges or punishments
  • Challenge evidence and statements used against you
  • Assert strong defenses on your behalf
  • Present mitigating factors to reduce your sentence
  • Avoid trial and negotiate a favorable plea bargain

This gives you the best chance at the least penalties. And maybe even avoiding jail time altogether.

Finding the Right Lawyer

Don’t just pick any lawyer for your mortgage fraud case. Look for an attorney with specific experience fighting these complex charges.

Ask prospective lawyers:

  • How many mortgage fraud cases have you handled?
  • What are some case results you’ve gotten for clients?
  • Will you be the actual lawyer handling my case?

Make sure they have a proven track record specifically with mortgage fraud. This expertise can make all the difference.

Facing mortgage fraud penalties is scary. But with an experienced lawyer guiding you, justice doesn’t have to be harsh.

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Todd Spodek

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RALPH P. FRANCHO, JR

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JEREMY FEIGENBAUM

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ELIZABETH GARVEY

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CLAIRE BANKS

Associate

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RAJESH BARUA

Of-Counsel

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CHAD LEWIN

Of-Counsel

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