OC Predatory Lending Defense Lawyers
Predatory lending has been the centerpiece of the housing crisis, and many business experts believe it led to the collapse of the housing market. Recently, state and federal officials, as well as many district attorneys, have been attempting to seek out alleged predatory lenders. Following their arrest, convicted suspects are often overcharged.
With your professional practice at risk and your reputation on the line, now is the time to call (714) 530-9690 and hire an Orange County criminal defense lawyer. Lawyers at Law Office of Michael L. Guisti have been handling real estate crime cases since 1999, and they are prepared to handle your case.
Some professionals are shocked to discover they are facing charges of predatory lending. A common misconception holds that only large corporations can be involved in predatory lending; however, you can be charged with predatory lending whether you are part a large corporation or run an independent business. It's very important to know and understand that predatory lending laws apply to small lenders, independent real estate brokers, mortgage brokers, appraisers and even individuals.
Predatory lending occurs during a loan transaction, when the lender extracts the maximum value possible without regard for the borrower's ability to repay the loan. During the transaction process the lender may misreport finances and omit very important information, such as the type of loan that is taken out.
Most charges of predatory lending occur because a lender failed to explain the terms of the loan to the borrower. For example, many lenders have been brought up on charges of failing to explain what a balloon payment is. Others have been convicted for discouraging the borrower from exploring a lower-cost option, or for simply omitting that information.
Abusive loan terms, often a part of predatory loans, are typically unnecessary loan terms that don't benefit the borrower, but typically benefit the lender.
These comprise a variety of terms, including:
- Prepayment penalties
- Deceptive promises about low interest rates
- Collecting excessive upfront fees to upset interest rates
Many abusive terms are designed to ensure that the borrower will default on their loans. When this occurs, the lender is able to repossess or foreclose the property Abusive lenders tend to prey on individuals who lack the ability to understand the paperwork and terms of their loans.
Depending how you conduct your business, you could face federal charges for predatory lending. You will invite these charges, if you operate a lending business in another state as well as your own. For example, if your office is in Irvine, but you conduct some transactions in Las Vegas, depending on your business arrangements, you could face federal charges in addition to the charges you already face.
In addition, there are federal consumer protection laws, such as The Truth in Lending Act, The Home Ownership and Equity Protection Act, and The Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, that are designed to protect borrowers against illegal lending practices. You could face federal charges for violating these laws, even if your business did not cross state lines.
Under California's grand theft laws, if you are convicted of predatory crimes, you could face up to three years in a state prison and up to a $10,000 fine. Depending on your case, it is very possible you could face forgery and conspiracy charges. If convicted of federal predatory lending, you could face several years in a federal prison and thousands of dollars in fines.
Predatory lending encompasses many charges that can result in large fines and long periods of prison time. Our OC real estate fraud defense attorneys at Law Office of Michael L. Guisti are here to help keep you out of prison and protect your reputation. Our trusted lawyers have over a decade of experience winning complex criminal cases for our clients throughout Southern California. We will work to dismiss the charges you face, whether local or federal. To learn more, contact us today.
- The Truth in Lending Act
- The Home Ownership and Equity Protection Act
- The Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act
Whether you're facing a felony or a misdemeanor, don't risk a conviction. Act quickly to redeem your reputation and protect your record by consulting with our Orange County criminal defense lawyer. Call today to schedule your free consultation.