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Eight charged with mortgage fraud in California

On July 31, local and federal authorities in Ventura took eight individuals into custody in connection with an alleged mortgage fraud scheme. According to authorities, the scheme involved filing loan applications on behalf of primarily Spanish-speaking individuals in the lower-income bracket. The applications would generate substantial commissions and loan fees. When the homes went into foreclosure, lending institutions lost millions of dollars.

The arrests are the result of a grand jury indictment which charged the eight individuals with a variety of white collar crimes, including wire fraud and conspiracy to commit bank fraud. All of the individuals charged in the case are facing a statutory maximum sentence of 30 years in prison if they're convicted of conspiracy.

The investigation was begun by the Ventura County District Attorney's Office, and it alleges that members of the scheme generated dozens of fraudulent mortgage loans worth over $11 million. The federal investigation was conducted by the Federal Housing Finance Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Office of Inspector General, the United States Secret Service and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

In a case such as this one, it may be easy to lose sight of the fact that in the U.S., all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. The burden of proving guilt to this degree falls upon the prosecution. A defense attorney may be able to find evidence to demonstrate that there's some reason to doubt the guilt of their client. The attorney might be able to build a solid defense argument that could convince a jury to rule in favor of the defendant.

Source: Imperial Valley News, "Eight Linked to Fraudulent Mortgage Brokerage in California", July 31, 2013

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