Buying a home with cash may be ideal, but this isn’t something most people are able to do. Instead, they are faced with the process of applying for a mortgage.

When done the right way, you can find and obtain a mortgage that allows you to purchase the home of your dreams. Unfortunately, there are times when a person bends the rules, thus leading to a charge of mortgage fraud. This is a serious crime that has serious consequences, so you must do whatever it takes to avoid trouble.

Here are several of the most common types of mortgage fraud schemes:

— Fraudulent loan documents. This could include something such as altered paycheck stubs, making it appear that you earn more money than what you do.

— Silent second mortgage. A situation in which a buyer obtains a second mortgage to make a down payment on the first loan. This is illegal if you don’t let the first lender know about the second loan.

— Property flipping. This is not illegal in the traditional sense. Instead, it is a problem if a home is repeatedly sold between two individuals, with both knowing what they are doing. The goal is to artificially drive up the value through multiple sales and false appraisals.

Since there is so much grey area associated with these many types of mortgage fraud, it’s possible that you could be charged with a crime that you did not commit. If this happens, you need to gather all supporting documentation and then decide what you can do next to protect your legal rights. An attorney can help.

Source: FindLaw, “What Is Mortgage Fraud?,” accessed June 09, 2016