Federal courts are a major venue for the prosecution of financial dealings of those in the mortgage and finance industry. In recent time's mortgage fraud has been a focus of the federal authorities, especially true for South Florida (Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach) where real estate values have fallen so rapidly and incidents of mortgage fraud have become more common. Targeted by federal criminal prosecutors, mortgage fraud has become an increasingly common criminal charge in South Florida federal courts. Federal criminal charges for mortgage fraud are commonly filed as wire fraud cases, money laundering, securitization and security law criminal violations as well as federal fraud theories. In some federal criminal prosecutions for mortgage fraud a theft crime theory is used by the government.Federal Criminal Charges in Mortgage Fraud Prosecutions
Federal prosecutors use various federal criminal statutes as tools to seek and often obtain convictions. Mortgage fraud is commonly referred to as a white collar crime. White collar crimes are criminal prosecutions for non-forceful theft and fraud schemes and criminal solicitation prosecutions. The most common element of federal prosecutions for mortgage fraud are: material misstatement (fraud), misrepresentation (another fraud theory of prosecution), commonly used are allegations of material omission by a mortgage broker or mortgage provider to induce a fraudulent transaction based on criminal misrepresentations amounting to federal fraud. In Federal court these criminal prosecutions usually begin with allegations that a defendant used or employed interstate mans of communication, such as electronic document transfers over federally regulated interstate telephone and electronic data transfers. These cases become federal criminal matters under the theory that the use of the means of interstate commerce and communication are sufficient basis for federal jurisdiction to be invoked to prosecute these matters as federal crimes to be heard by federal courts.Fraud and Conspiracy Charges in Federal Courts
All manner of fraud can be a crime in federal court when a person, or a conspiracy of persons, form a plan or agreement to commit a crime and advance the criminal enterprise. Without these two elements: an agreement between persons and an act to advance a criminal undertaking or enterprise, the conspiracy to commit fraud in a federal prosecution cannot be advanced by federal prosecutors. Fraud can best be defined as acts which cause or induce an act by an actor not involved in the material misrepresentation which is relied upon, reasonably relied upon, and becomes an element of the acts upon which a federal criminal prosecution can begin. Fraud is also defined as a material representation, known to be false, which is reasonably relied upon by the intended hearer and upon which acts occur which cause a loss or a legal change of position. In mortgage fraud prosecutions in federal court devices such as material misstatement of wages, or overvaluation of real estate by an actor, (federal defendant) or by a conspiracy (two or more persons), begin the basis for an arrest and a federal indictment for violation of a federal criminal statute. In Florida federal charges are brought in one of the several federal district courts. Florida federal courts districts are: The Federal Southern District of Florida, The Federal Middle District of Florida, and the Federal Northern District of Florida. Within each of these federal districts are federal courts and federal judges. The Southern District of Florida includes Miami (Miami - Dade County), Broward County (composed of the major cities of Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood, Pompano, Pompano Beach, North Lauderdale, Weston, Cocoanut Creek, Deerfield Beach, and Davie). The federal courts are the venue for all federal criminal prosecutions for South Florida. South Florida federal criminal defense lawyers must sit for a federal court examination and provide peer reviews of competency before becoming licensed to appear in federal court.Mortgage Fraud in Federal Courts - Schemes to Defraud and Devices
A brief list of the most common devices prosecuted in federal criminal courts is listed here. A definition of these devices is not a simple matter because the federal prosecutor may use any one or more of these categories for the allegations of federal crimes, but each case in federal criminal court follows a fact-specific case by case prosecution. Before you believe you have an understanding contact a South Florida federal criminal lawyer for a consultation. The understanding of industry is not the same understanding that attaches in a federal prosecution. Listed here are some common starting points for a federal prosecution for mortgage fraud: Straw buyers, of nominee buyers, sale and re-sale of properties (flipping) involving false or fraudulent appraisals or valuations by participants in federal criminal fraud prosecutions (real estate brokers or appraisers, sometimes even bank employees or agents). A Silent Second is a device where a buyer uses borrowed money by taking a second mortgage on a property which is not recorded. Not revealing the source of funds or the existence of a second mortgage is a common scheme prosecuted in federal court as a mortgage fraud or simple fraud or theft charge in federal court.White Collar Federal Crimes - Mortgage Fraud
Basic to understanding federal criminal charges in the area of white collar crimes is to suspend what is a common or industry understanding of fraud or theft in a financial transaction. In Federal court a federal criminal charge called a white collar crime is fact and case specific, beyond the statutory definitions contained in federal criminal laws. Basic to this is to have a grasp of what a federal criminal court, or federal criminal prosecutor in South Florida has to prove to seek a conviction for a white collar crime in federal court. White collar crimes involve financial matters for the most part. Most white collar crimes involve complex financial schemes or undertakings the purpose of which is to defraud a victim through the use of criminal schemes or devices. Federal criminal defense lawyers must have experience in the defense of these federal crimes before they can effectively represent criminal defendants in federal court. In South Florida federal criminal lawyers must pass a federal court examination before seeking to be federally licensed to appear in federal courts. Appearing in federal court in Miami or Fort Lauderdale or West Palm Beach and a history of defending federal criminal charges requires years of federal criminal trials and a comprehensive understanding of federal rules of evidence, federal court procedure and rules of court. Federal court practitioners are more familiar with the often confusing rules of federal court as well as the fast pace of federal criminal prosecutions. In South Florida federal criminal attorneys appear before federal judges in the three South Florida Federal courts located in Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach.What to Do if You Are Charged with a White Collar Crime in Federal Court
A federal prosecution begins with the filing of charges by the United States Attorney though the use of a federal indictment. An indictment is the actual charging document which begins a federal criminal prosecution. In South Florida the federal courts will read the federal indictment to you at your first appearance, or it can be waived. A Florida federal criminal lawyer can best advise you about your rights and protections under federal criminal laws and the United States Constitution. The first thing to do is to know your rights and know what a federal agent or federal prosecutor can or cannot do during the early stages of a federal criminal prosecution. The process of the arrest and the following bond and pre-trial release process is best explained by an experience South Florida Federal criminal defense lawyer. The earlier you retain a federal criminal defense lawyer the sooner you will know your rights as a criminal defendant in a federal prosecution. These rights and the proper and lawful methods of availing oneself of them is what you need a federal criminal lawyer to explain. The best advice you can have is to get good advice, get it early and get it from an experience federal criminal defense attorney. Finding an experienced criminal lawyer is a matter of interviewing lawyers and finding out if they regularly handle federal criminal trials. In The Southern District of Florida the federal courts have courthouses in Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. A lawyer who does federal work will always be near a federal courthouse because they spend most everyday in the federal courts. Ask where your lawyers office is in relation to the courthouse and you will have a fair idea of the extent his practice is federal criminal defense. Seek lawyers with certifications in criminal trial law, with years at the federal courthouse defending those charged with federal crimes and those who have handled federal criminal trials in courts in and outside of South Florida. Attorney Ralph Behr is an experienced federal criminal defense lawyer practicing in South Florida federal courts.
If you have any questions about material in this article, or you have been charged in federal court with any of these crimes: white collar, fraud, money laundering, mortgage fraud, wire fraud, you can call South Florida federal criminal defense attorney Ralph Behr for a free consultation.