What is Foreclosure Fraud?
The economy and housing crisis has led to an outcome of foreclosures all around the country. Many homeowners have found that they are in over their head financially and facing the worst circumstances they may ever have to face. In the midst of a foreclosure, many homeowners seek solutions to their problem from trusted experts. However, what they may not know is that they could be falling into a foreclosure fraud situation. While someone may present themselves as a foreclosure consultant, even they may not know that they are not properly licensed.
Foreclosure fraud occurs when a foreclosure consultant works with a person’s foreclosure, but is operating either without proper license or is scamming who they intend to consult. A common foreclosure fraud involves asking a homeowner to relinquish ownership of their home with the option to buy it back at a later date.
Another common case of foreclosure fraud involves the consultant placing an unlawful lien on the property to secure their own payment or charging excessive fees (more than two months’ worth of mortgage payments) for their service.
To curb foreclosure fraud, the state of New Jersey passed The New Jersey Foreclosure Rescue Fraud Prevention Act. Under this act, foreclosure consultants must meet certain certifications and requirements in order to assist those in need of their services.
Those who violate the act can be fined up to $10,000 for their first offense and $20,000 for their second offense and beyond. Depending on the nature of the violation, the violator could be charged of a crime in the third or second degree.
Foreclosure fraud is a serious accusation and should not be taken lightly. With the requirements needed to assist a person going through foreclosure, it can be easy to overlook some pre-requisites. If you are facing charges for foreclosure fraud, contact a criminal defense attorney who could help. Contact the Law Offices of John W. Tumelty today to schedule your case evaluation.