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Should you worry about lies on your mortgage application?

Lying and manipulating other people are unethical behaviors. They are also against the law. Fraud is the formal legal term for when one person tricks, manipulates or lies to another. People engage in fraud for reasons that range from financial to personal gain. Regardless of one's intentions, committing fraud for personal gain could lead to serious repercussions.

Sometimes, people engage in serious forms of fraud without realizing that they are breaking the law. This may be true of some individuals accused of mortgage fraud. Mortgage fraud sounds like such an official and frightening term that many people could assume their little mortgage application fibs don't really matter. That inaccurate belief could have a lasting impact on some people.

Why do people commit mortgage fraud?

Qualifying for mortgage isn't always easy. Issues with credit, irregular income or just inaccurate credit reporting could prevent someone from buying their dream house or keeping a family home in the family. If you haven't been planning to buy a house, you could find yourself unprepared for what it takes to qualify.

That can prompt some people to engage in drastic measures that they may feel are reasonable because they have every intention of paying the mortgage. However, even the best intentions can lead to legal consequences when it comes to fraud during the mortgage process.

Many times, consumer mortgage fraud involves lying about income or employment

Mortgage fraud can and does involve professionals, like loan officers. They could intentionally inflate the value of the house or even cut corners to get more mortgages approved and funded. This can change local markets in some cases. However, mortgage fraud can also involve people who just want to buy a house.

For consumers in Virginia simply trying to secure a mortgage, the most common forms of mortgage fraud are lies on an application. People may exaggerate their income or even claim to work at a company where they are not employed. Some mortgage brokers don't verify everything properly, which can mean that individuals move forward in the mortgage process without anyone catching on to their lies.

Other individuals may take extraordinary steps to cover up their lies, such as creating a fake phone number or begging a favor from a friend who works in a company to act as a reference. If the mortgage company finds out about the lie, you could face legal action, up to and including fraud charges. Mortgage fraud is a very serious criminal offense that can result in fines, jail time and a criminal record that will make your life much more difficult in the future.

Anyone facing allegations of mortgage fraud should take immediate action to protect themselves. Consulting with an experienced criminal defense attorney is an important first step for anyone accused of fraud or similar white collar crimes.

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