A great deal of effort goes into procuring a real estate license in the state of Texas—and most practitioners find the effort to be worth it for the rewarding career that having one can provide. But once you have earned that license, you need to take care not to put it at risk. If you find yourself confronted with accusations of wrongdoing, you should attain assistance as swiftly as you can. This includes any instance when you mistakenly engage in accidental mortgage fraud.
Mortgage fraud is a common problem—not least because it is so easily committed without the intention of doing so. Yet it is a serious issue. Mortgage fraud, if rampant enough, can result in wrecked financial institutions, a collapsing economy, and many former homeowners left out on the street (both figuratively and literally). According to Texas Penal Code 32.32, any person who “intentionally or knowingly makes a materially false or misleading written statement to obtain property or credit, including a mortgage loan” has committed fraud. The criminal penalty depends on the amount of money or credit at stake in the transaction. On one end of the scale, if the property is valued at less than $100, the fraud ranks as a Class C Misdemeanor; but, on the other end, if the amount exceeds $300,000 the offense is considered a first degree felony.
No matter which end of the scale a misrepresentation by a person holding a real estate license falls on (and, let’s face it, in real estate we’re looking a lot closer to the high end of the scale in nearly every case), the Texas Real Estate Commission is likely to launch an investigation after being informed of the possible violation, to determine whether there has been a crime of moral turpitude committed.
Where practitioners licensed in real estate sometimes commit this act by accident is when they misrepresent an element of a buyer’s situation or inflate the amount of a property to a lender in order to secure a larger loan for a buyer who the agent perceives as trustworthy. This may be done for what the real estate professional considers noble reasons—but it is against the law nonetheless.
If you have been wrongfully accused of committing an act of mortgage fraud and find the issue under question by the Texas Real Estate Commission, you should contact a professional license defense attorney as soon as possible to give you the best chance of keeping your license.
Our law firm helps real estate professionals, like you, keep their licenses when those licenses are under attack by a state agency or board.
BERTOLINO LLP proudly represents licensed professionals across the entire State of Texas. To best serve our clients we have offices in Austin, Houston, and San Antonio. If you are facing disciplinary action from a professional licensing board or state agency, contact us today or call (512) 476-5757 and schedule a case evaluation.
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