Lending Fraud

Both Texas and the federal government have broad statutes criminalizing false statements to obtain credit.  The subject matter of the loan is largely irrelevant, although false statements in connection with a  mortgage are the most serious because the average home price virtually guarantees that the punishment will be a first degree felony.  The Texas statute is as follows:

FALSE STATEMENT TO OBTAIN PROPERTY OR CREDIT

A person commits an offense if he intentionally or knowingly makes a materially false or misleading written statement to obtain property or credit, including a mortgage loan.

For purposes of defining "credit," the Texas statute specifically enumerates:

(1) a loan of money;

(2) furnishing property or service on credit;

(3) extending the due date of an obligation;

(4) comaking, endorsing, or guaranteeing a note or other instrument for obtaining credit;

(5) a line or letter of credit;

(6) a credit card; and

(7) a mortgage loan. "

Depending upon the seriousness of the matter, the federal government may also choose to prosecute the case under the federal bank fraud, federal wire fraud, or federal mail fraud statutes.

In credit fraud cases involving mortgage fraud, the Texas Statute specifically anticipates this and demands interagency cooperation. Pursuant to Section 32.32(d) and (e), the following agencies shall assist a prosecuting attorney of the United States or of a county or judicial district of this state, a county or state law enforcement agency of this state, or a federal law enforcement agency in the investigation of an offense under this section involving a mortgage loan:

(1) the office of the attorney general;
(2) the Department of Public Safety;
(3) the Texas Department of Insurance;
(4) the Office of Consumer Credit Commissioner;
(5) the Texas Department of Banking;
(6) the credit union department;
(7) the Department of Savings and Mortgage Lending;
(8) the Texas Real Estate Commission; and
(9) the Texas Appraiser Licensing and Certification Board.

Further, the statute provides that the attorney general has concurrent jurisdiction for mortgage loan fraud with consent of the local prosecutor.

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