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Miami mortgage fraud task force leading the way

Posted on December 03, 2009 3:00 AM EST

In 2007, the Miami Mortgage Fraud Task Force was established to eradicate the significant mortgage fraud problem. Since its inception the task force has made more than 175 arrests and is currently investigating 780 other cases. Anyone being investigated for mortgage fraud or having been contacted by the task force should seek immediate legal representation from a Miami mortgage fraud lawyer. Only certain attorneys have experience in these matters to effectively defend such a case. It is imperative to hire counsel prior to speaking with mortgage fraud investigators to protect one's rights. Any statements made to law enforcement official will be used in court by the prosecution.

Miami is one of the few locations in South Florida that have established a mortgage fraud task force. Miami has dedicated 24 law enforcement officers specially trained to investigate mortgage fraud. Until recently, the majority of other major metropolitan areas in South Florida such as, Ft. Lauderdale, Palm Beach County, Sarasota and Tampa did not have local offices to accept and investigate mortgage fraud complaints. As a result of the success of the Miami-Dade Police Department, other jurisdictions are coming on board. As the expansion of mortgage fraud tasks forces continue, the number of arrests relating to the crime will certainly expand. The Miami-Dade Task Force has organized training sessions for police officers and prosecutors across the state to get them up to speed.

Mortgage fraud cases are usually very complicated due to the number of documents that are involved. Investigations can be completed sometimes within a month, but the typical investigation lasts from six to eighteen months. The lengthy criminal investigations stem from the large number of people usually involved in a mortgage fraud ring and the complicated nature of the schemes to defraud. If an individual is arrested for mortgage fraud, typically charges such as organized scheme to defraud, grand theft and racketeering will also be charged in state court. The crimes or wire fraud, mail fraud and racketeering are usual charges fond on a federal court indictment.

Miami-Dade County has taken the crime of mortgage fraud so seriously that it has received the assistance the local and federal government, real estate industry groups and other interested parties. With these additional funds, the task force can be proactive by not only quickly responding to complaints, but by checking through real estate records looking for suspicious deals. In fact, some members of the task force undertake undercover capacities as real estate agents and mortgage brokers in an effort to infiltrate mortgage fraud rings.

In Major Fraud Spot, Agency Sets an Example, HeraldTribune.com, December 1, 2009.

Categories: Fraud