NYC Appraisal Fraud Attorneys
In simple terms, appraisal fraud is just another kind of mortgage fraud, in this case one that’s carries out in such a way as to appraise something in an inaccurate fashion in order to derive some sort of benefit from the fraud. Most of the time, the actual appraiser is part of this scam, but realtors, mortgage brokers, and even homeowners can also be implicated in these kinds of schemes.
Appraisal fraud can also involve defrauding a bank or some other kind of lending institution, which of course would carry with it federal charges and a possible prison sentence of decades. As such, it’s vitally important that you not take on these charges by yourself but instead get the right defense attorney for your case.
What is appraisal fraud?
As you might expect, an appraisal is usually an accurate assessment of how much value a property has on the market. In certain cases, though, as we’ve seen, there are times where someone commits a false appraisal, for instance maybe increasing the price in order to get one of their sellers a price that’s greater than the market value, or to help out a homeowner to refinance their property or get some kind of a loan, or even to help out a home buyer with getting a bigger loan than what they’re entitled to.
There are things known as builder bailout schemes that appraisers commonly participate in, which is when they appraise a house for more value than it’s actually worth in order to make sure that a builder can refinance, or else renew their line of credit. A builder bailout can also involve some sort of false buyer who will purchase a home from the builder for a super inflated price, with a fake appraisal, all so that the builder seems to be more profitable in the eyes of their lender.
Another way that appraisers can commit this kind of fraud is to understate the actual value of the property. This can either happen in a short sale fraud and also in any kind of real estate fraud offense that relates to flipping a home in an illegal way. Basically, the appraiser will claim that the property isn’t worth as much in order to make sure that it’s sold at a lower rate to some kind of buyer who’s doing some kind of a mortgage fraud scam. The bank will ultimately take the biggest hit, or else the seller of the home takes a big loss on the home. The property will then be resold at a huge profit, usually after only the most basic of improvements have been made.
Appraisers have to prove that the appraisals they’re making are completely accurate and based on a set of standards. Any appraisal who participates in some kind of fraud scam can also be charged with any offense that a co-conspirator committed in the case. What this means is that even if the appraiser didn’t apply for that fraudulent loan for their mortgage, they’d still most likely be charged with the crime of bank fraud, or even residential mortgage fraud if one of the co-conspirators from the case applies for some kind of loan or gets funds in an illegal way.
What are the penalties for appraisal fraud?
When you commit appraisal fraud, you run the risk of losing your realtor license and even being banned from making appraisals in the future. Along with this, a civil suit can be brought against you in order to recover what was lost. There was even one case where an appraiser was forced to repay $250,000 because of the fact that their firm overstated the value of a property.
Along with all of these penalties, you can even be facing federal and state charges. Bank fraud can land you thirty years in prison and a $1 million fine. Wire and postal fraud are also federal charges, and will give you a thirty year prison sentence and a $1 million fine as well. Mortgage fraud is also a felony as well.
If you’re facing legal trouble, you should reach out to the law firm of Joseph Potashnik and Associates, PC. Our NYC criminal lawyers have handled over a thousand of white collar criminal cases in state and federal courts. Call our office today to speak to an experienced NYC criminal defense attorney over the phone or to set up a confidential consultation. We’ll get you the help you need.