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Manafort Alleged Mortgage Fraud More Common Than Thought

Paul Manafort’s indictment in New York State this week on charges related to a fraudulent residential mortgage is not that unusual. Expect similar cases to start crowding court dockets.

According to MarketWatch, this case attracts the spotlight because of other crimes Manafort committed that were unearthed by Robert Mueller’s investigation into the Trump administration and campaign. Otherwise, it’s a fairly run-of-the-mill crime, experts said.

“I would classify it as a very plain, vanilla fraud scheme,” said Ann Fulmer, principal at Paladin Advisory Services, a consulting firm that specializes in investigating loan-quality issues for mortgage lenders. A spokesman for Manafort did not immediately return MarketWatch’s request for comment.

In many cases, people will commit mortgage fraud to secure housing. But in some cases, like the latest allegations against Manafort, they may engage in unlawful activity to earn a profit. The details of the indictment released this month by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office did not illustrate the scheme Manafort pursued.

In fact, the most unusual aspect of the charges against Manafort is that they didn’t come about because of a foreclosure, as is typically the case with mortgage fraud. As Josh Migdal, a partner with Miami-based law firm Mark, Migdal & Hayden, explained, many people who commit mortgage fraud go undetected for years. As long as they make their monthly mortgage payments, the lender who was lied to likely has no reason to suspect a crime was even committed.

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