Some things about mortgages have changed in recent years, but for the most part, they are still very complicated loans. As such, there are many kinds of professionals who work in mortgages, both with consumers seeking these loans and with the companies providing them, in order to facilitate the process from application to funding.

Those who work in the mortgage industry, whether as loan originators, underwriting professionals or brokers often have to turn out a certain number of loans every month in order to maintain their income, as they receive commissions based on their work.

Unfortunately, that pressure to get enough loans approved and funded every month could lead to people intentionally omitting information that should get provided to the company or changing information on an application in order to improve approval odds. Those decisions, while seemingly harmless, may constitute mortgage fraud, a common form of white-collar crime.

Mortgage fraud involves any material misrepresentation in the mortgage process

Both professionals and individual borrowers can wind up accused of mortgage fraud. Mortgage fraud is a term that covers a broad range of questionable behaviors. From lenders who hide the fact that interest rates will balloon later to borrowers who falsify their income to secure a bigger mortgage than they really qualify for, mortgage fraud comes in many forms.

Individual companies and federal agencies take action against people suspected of mortgage fraud, as the issue can affect individual businesses as well as the economy. The penalties an individual faces can range from the loss of their job to criminal prosecution. Even those who don’t directly profit from an act of mortgage fraud may wind up criminally liable for their omissions or lies during the mortgage process.

Sometimes, what looks like fraud is a misunderstanding

It is possible for someone to hear something wrong, miscommunicate details or copy information incorrectly. All of those basic mistakes could lead to allegations of mortgage fraud. Additionally, sometimes the person accused of fraud isn’t the one who committed it, as they simply utilized information provided by someone else.

Any financial professionals or homeowners accused of mortgage fraud should look into their options for defending themselves against these potentially life-altering charges.