Houston, TX criminal defense attorney Dan Cogdell talks about working in mortgage fraud cases.
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Sure, I’ve probably defended as many mortgage fraud cases as any lawyer you’ll talk to. Back in the mid to late ’80s, 85 percent of the savings and loans in Texas failed because oil went from $32.00 a barrel to $8.00 a barrel and all the savings and loans and many of the banks failed so you saw a wave of prosecutions for mortgage fraud. But in order to be guilty of mortgage fraud the government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you made a false statement in order to obtain a mortgage. So once again, it all gets back to what is in the mind of and what is in the heart of the individual when they fill out a mortgage application.
They typically prove it by trying to bring in an appraiser where the mortgage is obtained on a house that’s not worth as much the government later claims it is, that they over represented the value of the assets they had when they attempted to purchase the house and so forth. But mortgage fraud is very commonly prosecuted here and again, in order to successfully defend a mortgage fraud case you have to explain to the jury in a simple and direct way what was in the heart of your client and what was in the mind of your client.