Friday, June 29, 2007
The House concurred this week with minor changes the Senate made to a bill that defines and punishes residential mortgage fraud in
. House Bill 817 makes it a felony to knowingly misrepresent or exclude information in the mortgage lending process even if the victim is not harmed financially. Offenders can be sentenced to up to 16 months if they have no prior record and up to 31 months if they are linked to at least five cases of fraud with no prior record. Mortgage fraud is illegal under existing laws, but it was covered by general fraud law. That law required stolen property to be valued at a minimum of $100,000 before the offender would face substantial punishment. The changes make it easier to protect people who were cheated out of lesser amounts.