U.S. military personnel are among the most vulnerable to mortgage fraud. According to officials with the U.S. Treasury, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and other regulators, soldiers who have sought mortgage assistance under the federal Home Affordable Modification Program face unique financial challenges which put them at particular risk for such fraud schemes.
There are several reasons for the vulnerability of military personnel. For one, they receive a guaranteed paycheck from the government and aren't in danger of being laid off. The military also has a higher population of young adults who are not as sophisticated about scams. Further, military culture requires military members to maintain ordered finances, which puts them at further risk, ironic though it is.
Fraudsters can be detected by a number of signs, including unofficial use of program names or logos of government agencies, non-profit organizations, or lenders; advertising an unusually high rate of successful loan modifications; and guaranteeing a modification in exchange for an upfront fee.
Mortgage fraud can encompass a great many types of behavior, including occupancy fraud, income fraud, employment fraud, failure to disclose liabilities, fraud for profit, appraisal fraud and identity theft.
Those suspected of being involved in such scams face serious penalties and are, no doubt, frowned upon greatly, especially in a time where so many homeowners are struggling greatly to get by. Building a strong defense against charges is especially important, especially since prosecutors are unlikely to let offenders get away easily.
Even those who suspect they may be accused of mortgage fraud would do well to consult an attorney. Doing so can help one to get a head start on some serious charges, should they eventually be issued.
Source: CBS News, "Loan scams target U.S. soldiers," Llyce Glink, June 7, 2012