Skip to Content

General Laws

Section 35A. (a) As used in this section, the following words shall have the following meanings, unless the context clearly otherwise requires:—

“Funds”, shall include, but not be limited to, a commission, fee, yield spread premium or compensation in any form.

“Material omission”, the omission or concealment of a material fact necessary to prevent a statement from being misleading, in the light of the circumstances under which the statement is made.

“Mortgage lending process”, the process through which a person seeks or obtains a residential mortgage loan including, but not limited to, solicitation, application, origination, negotiation of terms, third-party provider services, underwriting, signing and closing, and funding of the loan; provided, however, that documents involved in the mortgage lending process shall include, but not be limited to, uniform residential loan applications or other loan applications, appraisal reports, HUD-1 settlement statements, supporting personal documentation for loan applications such as W-2 forms, verification of income and employment, bank statements, tax returns and payroll stubs and any required disclosures.

“Pattern of residential mortgage fraud”, violation of subsection (b) in connection with 3 or more residential properties.

“Person”, a natural person, corporation, company, limited liability company, partnership, real estate trust, association or any other entity.

“Residential mortgage loan”, a loan or agreement to extend credit made to a person, which loan is secured by a mortgage, security interest, deed to secure debt, deed of trust, or other document representing a security interest or lien upon any interest in a 1 to 4 family residential property located in the commonwealth, including the renewal or refinancing of any such loan.

(b) Whoever intentionally: (1) makes or causes to be made any material statement that is false or any statement that contains a material omission, knowing the same to be false or to contain a material omission, during or in connection with the mortgage lending process, with the intent that such statement be relied upon by a mortgage lender, borrower or any other party to the mortgage lending process; (2) uses, or facilitates the use of, any material statement that is false or any statement that contains a material omission, knowing the same to be false or to contain a material omission, during or in connection with the mortgage lending process, with the intent that such statement be relied upon by a mortgage lender, borrower or any other party to the mortgage lending process; (3) receives any proceeds or any other funds in connection with a residential mortgage closing, knowing such proceeds or funds were obtained in violation of clause (1) or (2); or (4) files or causes to be filed with a registrar of deeds any document that contains a material statement that is false or a material omission, knowing such document to contain a material statement that is false or a material omission, shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than 5 years or by imprisonment in the house of correction for not more than 2 and one-half years or by a fine of not more than $10,000 in the case of a natural person or not more than $100,000 in the case of any other person, or by both such fine and imprisonment.

Any person who engages in a pattern of residential mortgage fraud shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than 15 years or by a fine of not more than $50,000, in the case of a natural person, or not more than $500,000 in the case of any other person, or by both such fine and imprisonment.

(c) If a defendant is convicted of a violation of this section as a result of conduct or an omission by an employee or agent of the defendant the court may consider the following mitigating factors with respect to sentencing:

(1) that the defendant had instituted and maintained at the time of the violation, and continues to have, a written policy including:

(i) a prohibition against conduct that violates this section by employees and agents of the defendant;

(ii) penalties or discipline for violation of the policy;

(iii) a process for educating employees and agents concerning the policy and consequences of a violation thereof; and

(iv) with respect to a defendant authorized to conduct criminal history checks for the employee’s or agent’s position, a requirement for a criminal history check before employing an employee or engaging an agent and a requirement that the defendant will not employ or engage an individual who has been convicted of a crime involving fraud;

(2) a demonstration that the defendant enforces the policy described in clause (1); and

(3) prior to the violation of this section the defendant provided a copy of the policy described in clause (1), including a description of the consequences for violating the policy, to the employee or agent who committed the violation.

Error