Foreclosure Fraud

foreclosure fraud

There are a number of fraud offenses that a person can be charged with in the Los Angeles area. In recent years, real estate fraud has become increasingly common. Specifically, law enforcement agencies and prosecutors pay close attention to foreclosure fraud. There has been a significant increase in this offense since the collapse of the housing market.

Going through home foreclosure can be a difficult and trying time for homeowners and their families. In recent years, there has been a growing number of people who claim to be “foreclosure consultants.” These consultants often promise to stop the foreclosure process upon payment of a fee. Under California Civil Code Section 2945 and California Civil Code Section 2945.4, it is illegal to solicit or represent to a homeowner that it is possible to prevent or delay a foreclosure in exchange for a fee in certain circumstances. These circumstances include collecting compensation prior to performing a service on behalf of a homeowner, charging excessive fees, taking a lien on the property as compensation, taking money from a third party without fully disclosing this to the homeowner, obtaining power of attorney from the homeowner or getting the homeowner to enter into an illegal contract. In the vast majority of cases, the foreclosure consultant is unable to provide any meaningful help to the homeowner and the home ends up being foreclosed upon.

Foreclosure fraud is such a significant problem that California recently passed a law requiring all foreclosure consultants to register with the Department of Justice and to post a $100,000 bond. This ensures that if the consultant is ever convicted of foreclosure fraud, the consultant’s victims would at least be able to obtain some amount of restitution. Failure to register with the Department of Justice or failure to post the requisite bond could result in criminal charges. Those convicted could be sentenced to up to a year in jail and fines of up to $25,000 for each violation committed.

There are a number of defenses that may apply to someone who has been charged with foreclosure fraud. It is important to remember that it is not illegal to act as a foreclosure consultant, as long as upfront fees are not charged and the defendant complies with statutory requirements. Foreclosure fraud requires that the defendant acted with a fraudulent intent. If the consultant had honest intentions and can show that he or she was taking meaningful steps to help the client but the property was still foreclosed, the defendant would have a strong argument in mitigation.

Foreclosure fraud is a “wobbler” offense that can be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor. When making a filing decision, a prosecutor will consider factors such as the amount of money involved, the number or victims, the defendant’s criminal record and any other facts relevant to the case. If charged with a felony, the defendant can be sentenced to serve up to three years in prison and a $10,000 fine. If charged as a misdemeanor, the defendant may be required to serve up to a year in jail and would have to pay court fines. Victim restitution would be required as part of any foreclosure fraud conviction.

There are certain aggravating factors that can lead to additional jail time. If the amount taken from the victim was more than $65,000, the defendant can be sentenced to an additional one to four years on top of what is imposed on the underlying foreclosure fraud offense. If the loss amount was more than $100,000 and the defendant was convicted of two or more felonies for the same offense, he or she could be required to serve an additional five years in prison and a fine of either $500,000 or double the loss amount, whichever is more.

If you are under investigation for foreclosure fraud, it is crucial that you speak with a Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney immediately. As a former Deputy District Attorney with over 14 years of prosecutorial experience, Los Angeles Criminal Defense Lawyer Michael Kraut understands how best to fight allegations of foreclosure fraud. Mr. Kraut formerly served in the elite Major Fraud Division of the District Attorney’s Office and is experienced in defending clients charged with white collar offenses such as this.

For more information about Los Angeles foreclosure fraud, contact Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney Michael Kraut at the Kraut Law Group located at 6255 Sunset Boulevard, Suite 1480, Los Angeles, CA 90028. Mr. Kraut can be reached 24/7 at 888-334-6344 or 323-464-6453.

Share |
Client Reviews
Michael Kraut is outstanding! He genuinely cared about my case and instructed my mom and I throughout the entire process. He was very clear on what he needed in order to receive the best results. He kept us updated until the end. I thank him so much for getting my charges rejected. I highly recommend him to anyone with legal needs!
★★★★★
I contacted Michael with concern for my personal and business reputation. He was very reassuring and confident the entire time. After about 3 weeks it was determined that no charges were being filed by any agency and I was in the clear of any investigation. One thing that is amazing is just how FAST Michael is at replying to phone calls, texts, and even emails! We are talking under 30 minutes in most cases. That is unheard of for most attorneys! Michael is incredible and not your typical run of the mill attorney. For best results hire him if you feel like you might be under investigation or could face charges. Even if you know you are innocent it is best to take care of the smoke before it becomes a fire.
★★★★★
Brad
Michael Kraut is-hands down-the best criminal defense attorney and I can't begin to thank him for all that he did for me and my family. I reached out to him in the middle of the night and less than a couple hours later, he had gotten back to me and scheduled a meeting. He's a no-nonsense attorney who knows how to get the job done! From the second we retained him, I had peace of mind in knowing that we were in the best hands possible. If Michael Kraut couldn't get it done, I knew that it couldn't be done at all. You can't put a price tag on your freedom. He was worth every single penny.
★★★★★
Lida
Michael Kraut is an outstanding attorney. He was extremely professional, and straightforward, yet sensitive with my case. I am confident I made the right choice by hiring Michael. I highly recommend him to anyone seeking a truly experienced lawyer.
★★★★★
Daniel Lepervanche
Michael Kraut - I cannot thank you enough for all that you did for ​my son. When I came to you I read that you used to be a district attorney but I never knew how much that meant until I watch you in court. I knew it took 3 months but the final day when I heard the judge say that all charges were dismissed it was all worth it! I will always be grateful for all that you did for us.
★★★★★
A.N.