Identifying And Avoiding Mortgage Fraud

Recent financial industry distress publicly attributed to widespread mortgage loan defaults has generated mounting pressure on federal prosecutors to increase investigations into incidents of mortgage fraud across the nation. On February 6, 2004, CNN reported that the FBI warned that mortgage fraud was becoming so rampant that the resulting epidemic of fraud could trigger a massive financial crisis. Mortgage fraud has now become so prevalent that the United States Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have been forced to create an entirely new category for tracking these cases. According to a CBS news report, the number of FBI agents assigned to mortgage related crimes increased by 50 percent from 2007 to 2008. Prosecutors and investigators on both the state and local levels are also feverishly organizing task forces and creating real estate fraud departments to counter this burgeoning wave of crime.

CRIME & PUNISHMENT

The primary focus of these investigations appears to be on borrowers, investors, mortgage brokers, appraisers and real estate agents. Some of the charges levied against these perpetrators have included making false statements on loan applications, bank fraud, mail fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy to launder funds and a number of applicable state laws. However, the primary legal vehicle implemented by federal prosecutors has been section 1014 of Title 18 of the United States Code which declares mortgage fraud as a federal crime encompassing anyone who willfully overvalues any land or property, or knowingly makes any false statement, for the purpose of influencing a financial institution upon a loan application, purchase agreement or other related documents. A violation of the federal mortgage fraud law (18 U.S.C. 1014) alone is punishable by up to thirty years imprisonment and a one million dollar fine.

MORTGAGE FRAUD SCHEMES

The most effective way to avoid prosecution for mortgage fraud is to identify mortgage fraud schemes prior to any actual involvement. Most mortgage fraud offenses fall into one of two general categories: fraud for housing and fraud for profit. Fraud for housing often involves fraudulent acts committed by a borrower, often coached by his or her mortgage broker or real estate agent, to obtain a loan for the ultimate goal of acquiring a home. These fraudulent facts generally pertain to the falsification of facts and documents during the loan application process to enable the borrower to obtain financing that he or she would otherwise not be qualified to receive. Conversely, fraud for profit typically involves a more concerted plan to abuse the entire real estate transactional process for pecuniary gain.

FRAUD FOR HOUSING

Income Fraud

This occurs when a borrower inflates his or her amount of income to qualify for a loan or a larger loan amount. Although recent reductions in the use of stated income or no-doc liar loans has somewhat curbed income fraud, daring borrowers are increasingly generating more fraudulent documents to falsify income. Information technology and photocopy equipment have become so advanced that very convincing documentation, such as income statements, savings accounts and tax returns, can be produced on demand.

Employment Fraud

In order to justify overstated income in a loan application, borrowers will claim self-employment in a non-existent company or represent having a higher position in a company than the borrower actually holds.

Failure to Disclose Liabilities

The debt-to-income ratio is an important part of the loan underwriting criteria used to determine a borrowers eligibility for mortgage loans. Consequently, borrowers will conceal financial obligations like newly acquired credit card debt, other mortgages, and private loans to artificially reduce their debt-to-income ratios.

Occupancy Fraud

Generally occurs when a borrower states on a loan application that he or she intends to occupy a property as a primary residence to secure a lower interest rate when the borrower actually intends to obtain the loan to acquire an investment property.

FRAUD FOR PROFIT

Equity Skimming and Cash-Back Schemes

A straw buyer is typically implemented as the buyer of the property due to his or her creditworthiness and resulting ability to obtain favorable financing. Unknowing straw buyers can be manipulated by mortgage brokers and real estate agents to purchase a property as a primary residence with the broker or agent later serving as a property manager to collect anticipated rental income. After the escrow closes and the mortgage and real estate brokers collect their commissions, they proceed to collect rental income and fail to make the mortgage payments.

Complex schemes can involve a knowing straw buyer, an appraiser who intentionally overstates the propertys value, a dishonest seller that intentionally inflates the selling price, and a dishonest settlement officer that makes undisclosed disbursements from the loan proceeds. All of these conspirators collaborate to collect portions of the proceeds of an inappropriately large loan before eventually letting it go into default.

Appraisal Fraud or Price Inflation

This fraud occurs when a dishonest appraiser intentionally overstates the value of a property or when an existing appraisal is altered to reflect a higher value. When a home is overvalued, more money can be obtained by the seller in a purchase transaction or by the borrower in a cash-out refinance.

The New Appraisal Fraud: Price Deflation

When done legitimately, a short sale occurs when a borrower that owes more than his or her property is worth sells the property below market value and the lender agrees to accept the lower repayment amount and forgive the difference. A new hybrid of fraud has emerged where an appraiser or a real estate agent drastically devalues the property in an appraisal or brokers price opinion (BPO) so that the home will sell with ease at a price well below market value. Of course the new buyer is in collaboration with the seller, agent and appraiser, so all of the conspirators proceed to sell the home at a higher price for a big profit.

Identity Theft

Identity theft fraud occurs when a victims identity is assumed by another to obtain a mortgage without ever intending to make any payments on the loan. The perpetrators often abscond with a portion of the loan proceeds and sometimes are daring enough to lease the property and collect some deposits and rental income before disappearing.

The Buy and Bail

This completely new scheme is perpetrated by a home owner who cannot sell the home because more is owed on the property than its worth. Because no lender will provide the owner a loan for a second primary residence, the owner tells the lender that he or she plans to rent out the current home despite having no intention of doing so. Sometimes a falsified rental agreement is used to further support the falsehood. Once the second home is purchased, the owner bails on the original home and fails to make any further mortgage payments.

AVOIDING & PREVENTING FRAUD

Mortgage fraud frequently emanates from groups that complete an abnormal amount of similar transactions or churn out many offers to purchase at once. These outfits may appear disorganized or unprofessional due to the large amount of transactions they are attempting to manage. It is also no coincidence that mortgage fraud has significantly increased as housing values have decreased since most fraud schemes involve a financially distressed or otherwise vulnerable seller. It is equally important to remember that agents owe a very strict fiduciary duty to act in their clients best interests. So before reporting a client to your local authorities, speak with legal counsel or your state real estate licensing department to ensure that your proposed actions dont constitute a breach of your fiduciary duty to your client.

Real estate agents are in a unique position that enables them to identify and even prevent the occurrence of fraud by recognizing the red flags, asking appropriate questions, and giving the principals in their transactions the full picture of what consequences are associated with participating in mortgage fraud. While a lot of damage has been done in the real estate market, we can prevent more of the same from occurring in the future.

Hire The Service Of Reliable Mortgage Broker Wisconsin

If you are searching for the reliable mortgage broker Wisconsin then the best option is to choose the web.

At the time you are planning to apply the mortgage loan then there are many things that might prove to be confusing for you. In such a case, it is suggested that you hire a mortgage broker Wisconsin the broker will help you in a better manner to choose the best options that are available in the market. Before you choose to hire the first broker you come across, it is very important for you to follow some tips that will help you search for the right one. The best and the most convenient way to look for the broker is online. In case you have personal referral then it is suggested that you seek advice from them. The reason behind this is that they will give you genuine advices and accordingly you can choose the broker.

There are many people thinking that choosing the services of the broker is not a wise option but the fact is that the broker will help you in choosing the best mortgage deal that will suit your needs. They will even guide you in situations where it may prove to be difficult for you to take a call. In such a situation they will take charge and ensure that you get the best mortgage programs that match your needs.

It is also better you seek assistance of the broker when you are not able to rely on the word of mouth advices. In case not the broker you can take help of the yellow pages and dictionary but the best source to help you out is the broker.

You can look for the mortgage broker Wisconsin online. There are some tips that you need to follow when you are looking out for the broker online. The first thing that you need to follow is that the broker should be experienced. The reason behind this is that experienced brokers will help you choose the best mortgage loan as per your requirements. You also should choose a broker who is reputed to ensure that you have taken the right decision and that you will not regret in the future. A reliable and reputed broker will help you get the right loan otherwise it would be difficult for you to trust the mortgage company as well. This can make certain that you have taken the right decision of hiring the mortgage broker Wisconsin. Take your time you search for the broker and make the most of his services.

Business Loan Solutions – Commercial Mortgage Loan Strategies

Commercial borrowers are likely to be confused when they are turned down and will probably be unsure as to why it happened and what to do next. For each of the five major reasons that a bank might decline a commercial mortgage, a practical strategy is provided for converting the declined commercial mortgage loan into an approved business loan.

Two of the reasons (business plans and tax returns) will potentially impact all commercial borrowers. Many commercial mortgage loan officers will start their business loan review by stating some variation of “Can you show me your business plan?” and “We will need to see several years of tax returns.”

Commercial projects are frequently too unique for traditional commercial banks. In these situations (even if a commercial borrower has favorable tax returns and an adequate business plan), it is not unusual for the business owner to be declined for a commercial mortgage loan by a traditional commercial lender.

The reasons provided below represent commonly-found issues. It is likely that several of the reasons will be relevant for most business loan scenarios.

Commercial Mortgage Rejections: (1) Special Purpose Properties

Reason Number One for business loan rejections: The lender does not make commercial mortgage loans for the type of business financing involved or imposes special covenants that make the commercial real estate loan difficult for the business owner. In a typical example, fewer commercial banks are offering business financing for bar and restaurant properties.

Similarly, auto service businesses are frequently given unnecessary (and expensive) environmental reporting requirements. There are many “special purpose” properties such as funeral homes, campgrounds and churches that most traditional banks will not include in their business lending portfolio.

Strategy Number One for converting the rejected commercial real estate loan into an approved business loan: For most commercial borrowers, there are viable commercial mortgage options beyond traditional commercial lender choices.

There are action-oriented non-traditional commercial lenders that will offer commercial mortgage loans for most special purpose commercial property situations. The best business financing could be available only from a non-traditional lender when a traditional lender won’t provide the necessary commercial real estate loan.

Commercial Mortgage Rejections: (2) Tax Returns

Reason Number Two for business loan rejections: A loan underwriter finds an issue on tax returns that disqualifies a business borrower under the bank’s lending standards. This “issue” will often be inadequate net income, but when commercial loan underwriters analyze income tax returns, there can be a wide variety of other possibilities which produce the same disapproval.

Strategy Number Two for converting the rejected commercial real estate loan into an approved business loan: Commercial borrowers will never have this reason to worry about if they have applied for a “Stated Income” commercial mortgage loan. Very few traditional lenders use a Stated Income process (no income verification, no tax returns, no IRS Form 4506) for a commercial loan.

Business borrowers should look for lenders using Stated Income business loans. This approach, however, will not work for all commercial loans due to a prevailing maximum loan of $3 million for typical Stated Income commercial mortgage situations.

Commercial Mortgage Rejections: (3) Cash Out Limitations

Reason Number Three for commercial mortgage loan and business loan disapprovals: When a business attempts to refinance their commercial property loan and wants to get significant cash out, it is normal for a traditional bank to restrict what the funds are used for and to severely limit the amount of cash received. Even though the bank is willing to make the commercial loan, if they won’t provide the cash required by the commercial borrower, this is similar to rejecting the loan.

Strategy Number Three for converting the declined commercial mortgage into an approved commercial real estate loan: As mentioned above, there are other commercial lending options available. The commercial borrower’s mission (and it is not impossible at all) is to use a commercial real estate lender that will allow them to get much larger amounts of cash out of a commercial refinancing without restrictions on what they do with it.

Commercial Mortgage Rejections: (4) Collateral Required

Reason Number Four for business loan rejections: The bank will not approve a commercial mortgage loan without collateral, typically as a lien on the commercial borrower’s personal residence or other personal assets.

Strategy Number Four for converting the rejected commercial real estate loan into an approved business loan: Commercial mortgage borrowers should seek out business lenders that do not cross collateralize assets as a requirement for receiving a commercial loan. This will provide more options for the borrower and eliminate unnecessary and unwise connections between personal and commercial assets.

Commercial Mortgage Rejections: (5) Business Plan Requirements

Reason Number Five for commercial mortgage loan and business loan disapprovals: A bank’s loan officer determines that the business plan does not support the needed commercial loan.

Strategy Number Five for converting the rejected commercial real estate loan into an approved business loan: Business borrowers should experience fewer delays and profit from dealing with a commercial lender that does not have a business plan requirement due to several key benefits:

(A) Reduce commercial loan costs by thousands of dollars. A common range for an average business plan (prepared to typical bank specifications) is $5,000 to $10,000.

(B) Shorten the business financing closing period. Business plan preparation is likely to take 1-2 months or more.

(C) If a professional business plan is not needed, an approval for the business financing requires one less item.

Copyright 2005-2007 AEX Commercial Financing Group, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Simple Accounting Training- Free Useful Guideline About Cost Accounting Basics

As you devour this article, remember that the rest of it contains valuable information related to simple accounting training and in some way related to 2007 IRA catch up, construction business software, and fact accounting software or financial and managerial accounting for your reading pleasure.

The General Ledger Creates an Audit Trail, Dont let the word audit strike fear in your heart; I am not talking about a tax audit. Although, if you are called to respond to an outside audit for any reason, a well-maintained general ledger is essential.

If you find it difficult to determine someone’s expertise in a field with which you are unfamiliar, here are some solutions, Have them interviewed by an expert. Your own CPA will probably be glad to interview a few for you, carefully check references from past jobs. Ask detailed questions on exactly what they did in the accounting function. Compare the answers with what they say they did, ask them some accounting questions. It may sound odd that you (of all people) should be asking such questions. However, even if you can’t judge the technical merit of the answers, you can get a feel for how comfortable they are with the subject and the authority with which they answer.

We segregate liabilities into short-term and long-term categories on the balance sheet. This division is nothing more than separating those liabilities scheduled for payment within the next accounting period (usually the next twelve months) from those not to be paid until later. We often separate debt like this, it gives readers a clearer picture of how much the company owes and when.

Don’t forget that you are only a step away from getting more information about simple accounting training or such related information by searching the search engines online Google Dot Com alone can give you more than enough results when you search for simple accounting training.

Amortization, In the course of doing business, you will likely acquire what are known as intangible assets. These assets can contribute to the revenue growth of your business and, as such, they can be expensed against these future revenues. An example of an intangible asset is when you buy a patent for an invention.

Last in/first out, this method, commonly referred to as LIFO, is based on the assumption that the most recent units purchased will be the first units sold. A “widget” is an imaginary item that could be just about any product. The advantage of last in, first out accounting, or LIFO, is that typically the last widgets purchased were purchased at the highest price and that by considering the highest priced items to be sold first, a business can reduce its short-term profit, and hence, taxes.

Accountants and auditors help to ensure that the Nations firms are run efficiently, its public records kept accurately, and its taxes paid properly and on time. They analyze and communicate financial information for various entities such as companies, individual clients, and government. Beyond carrying out the fundamental tasks of the occupationpreparing, analyzing, and verifying financial documents in order to provide information to clientsmany accountants also offer budget analysis, financial and investment planning, information technology consulting, and limited legal services. Specific job duties vary widely among the four major fields of accounting and auditing: public, management, government accounting, and internal auditing.

We discovered that many people who were also searching for information related to simple accounting training also searched online for related information such as accounting software reseller, debit credit double entry, and even accounting standard.

Mortgage Scams Lead to Debt And Harassment

The Federal Trade Commission has stepped up its investigations and prosecutions of mortgage relief scam artists. Since the start of 2013, the FTC has obtained settlements from over 20 individuals and companies involved with scamming distressed homeowners. In the most recent cases, two individuals and seven companies settled FTC charges that they victimized more than a thousand people through “mass joinder lawsuits” and “forensic loan audits.” They violated the Mortgage Assistance Relief Services (MARS) Rule, which was set up to curb deceptive and unfair practices related to such services.

The FTC contends that Sameer Lakhany, Brian Pacios, Precision Law Center, Inc., Precision Law Center LLC, National Legal Network, Inc., and Assurity Law Group, Inc. targeted consumers with a mass joinder scam. They promised homeowners that they could stop their foreclosures or obtain some other mortgage relief if they joined together to sue the lenders. The defendants represented themselves as a law firm called Precision Law Center, charging between $6,000 and $10,000 in up-front fees. But every suit was dismissed soon after it was filed; the victims saw none of the promised relief.

One of the scam artists, Lakhany, was also involved in a “forensic loan audit” scam, along with The Credit Shop, LLC, Titanium Realty, Inc., and Fidelity Legal Services LLC. These defendants called themselves nonprofit organizations, with domain names like “FreeFedLoanMod.org,” “HouseholdRelief.org,” and “MyHomeSupport.org;” but really they sold people an auditing service, which supposedly found lender violations in mortgage documents. The defendants charged $800 to nearly $1,600 for this service, which never led to a single favorable loan modification for the victims.

The FTC settlements require the defendants to surrender many assets and pay $4.75 million in restitution. All except Assurity Law Group, Inc. are banned from mortgage relief and debt relief services; Assurity is required to surrender $100,000 in funds and has been ordered to cease any deceptive practices. In February, the FTC settled with another predatory group, composed of Ryan Zimmerman, Consumer Advocates Group Experts, LLC, Paramount Asset Management Corporation, and Advocates for Consumer Affairs Expert, LLC. These entities also used the forensic loan audit scam, and charged people almost $2,000 or more for the audits-they failed to make good on their false claims. Besides receiving a $3.5 million judgment against them, the defendants are banned from marketing relief services or products, and from making any misleading claims about any other type of product or service.

In January 2013, eight other defendants settled with the FTC, for selling fake relief services to distressed Spanish-speaking homeowners over the phone. The defendants-David F. Preiner, Daniel Hungria, Freedom Companies Marketing, Inc., Freedom Companies Lending, Inc., Freedom Companies, Inc., Grupo Marketing Dominicana, Freedom Information Services, Inc., and Haiti Management, Inc-collected over $2 million from people over three years. They simply didn’t provide the services they said they could. Part of this settlement, in which the defendants received a $2.39 million judgment, bans them from marketing relief products or services, and from making misleading claims about anything they advertise.