Fraud in Massachusetts real estate and mortgage transactions has reached an epidemic level. It seems every week; there are new cases of fraud involving:
- mortgage brokers,
- realtors, and
- bank officials.
As recent as March 8, 2011, State Attorney General, Martha Coakley announced a new real estate fraud conviction involving a Massachusetts employee of a nationally prominent bank.
In just one year, (2007-2008) mortgage fraud increased 36% across the United States. Massachusetts has seen its share: just check this FBI report on nine recent prosecutions in the Commonwealth. Frustration with the mortgage fraud situation has led to proposed legislation from Governor, Deval Patrick and much public commentary and outcry, as Boston.com real estate blogger Scott Van Voorhis reports.
Although criminal prosecutions may sometimes provide for restitution, more often, businesses and individuals harmed by real estate fraud are turning to civil litigation against defendants who cause or contribute to damages from mortgage fraud. Available civil actions in Massachusetts for mortgage fraud may include:
- breach of contract;
- breach of fiduciary duty;
- unfair trade practices - breach of Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 93A which may allow for multiple damages and attorney's fees;
- legal malpractice / lawyer liability;
- realtor malpractice;
- Mortgage broker liability.
In addition to the assets which may be available to satisfy potential judgments against parties found to have breached legal duties, there may also be insurance which covers negligent acts or omissions by various professionals involved with real estate practitioners. Persons damaged by mortgage fraud in Massachusetts should consult an experienced real estate fraud attorney.
Real estate lawyers who want to hear the latest about mortgage fraud can attend the upcoming R.E.B.A. (real estate bar association) spring meeting on May 2, 2011 in Westborough where Victor A. Wild; Thomas J. Zappala; Ryan M. DiSantis; Nancy L. McCormick; Ann M. Ragosta; Matthew P. Galas mortgage a fraud team of the U.S. Attorney's Office, will discuss the development of large-scale mortgage fraud investigations, schemes used to commit real estate financing fraud, and the trial of United States vs. Levine, et al. The panelists will also share insights on how to spot the signs of mortgage fraud.