Contact: Tim Eigo, Arizona Attorney Editor
Phone: (602) 340-7310, Mobile: (602) 908-6991

Arizona Attorney Examines Criminal Liability in the Mortgage Crisis

PHOENIX - Jan. 18, 2011 - An in-depth article in the latest issue of Arizona Attorney Magazine examines criminal liability in mortgage services, short sales and loan modifications in the story "Building a Mortgage Fraud Defense."

Daniel Mestaz, a criminal defense and civil litigation attorney at Scottsdale law firm Sacks Tierney, wrote the article that examines measures Arizona real estate professionals can take to avoid criminal liability. He writes, "Whether at the pre-indictment or post-indictment stage, taking the right steps can mean the difference between home and a prison cell."

"As the mortgage crisis continues, certain industries are under intense scrutiny," said Arizona Attorney Editor Tim Eigo. "This article provides a clear roadmap on methods real estate professionals can adopt to ensure their procedures are sufficient."

The article provides readers with three situations-cleverly supported with quotations from the classic movie Casablanca-that explain defense mechanisms for mortgage fraud cases.

Mestaz provides a brief snapshot of the real estate boom that led to a financial crisis and a rise in fraud cases. He then details the federal government's focus on Arizona's real estate profession, provides an overview of typical mortgage fraud schemes and ends with federal criminal statutes.

According to the author, mortgage fraud investigations and prosecutions show no sign of slowing down. But real estate professionals can significantly reduce their criminal liability exposure by adhering to document retention and destruction policies, having written procedures in place when government agents show up at the door, and avoiding business transactions with dishonest people.

Arizona Attorney Magazine is published 11 times per year by the State Bar of Arizona. It provides articles on substantive legal issues, professional trends and feature profiles.

The full article is available at

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