Supreme Court rules for government in mortgage fraud case

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court has clarified how restitution must be computed in mortgage fraud cases.

The justices in a unanimous decision Monday said that restitution to a bank that has been defrauded must be calculated based on the value of property when it is actually sold, and not the earlier date on which the bank forecloses on the property.

The case involved a fraudulent loan application for the purchase of two houses in Wisconsin for $470,000. The two banks foreclosed on the mortgages in 2006, but only sold the homes later for $280,000 after the real estate market collapsed.

The high court ruled that the amount of restitution is offset by the sale price the banks received, and not the higher price they were worth when the banks foreclosed.

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