The Arithmetic of Justice: Calculating Restitution for Mortgage Fraud

38 Pages Posted: 21 Oct 2013 Last revised: 16 Nov 2013

See all articles by T. Hill

T. Hill

Columbia University - Law School

Date Written: October 21, 2013


The Mandatory Victims Restitution Act requires restitution for federal crimes involving property. In particular, the defendant is required to return any property taken, or, if return is impossible, to pay for the victim’s loss, which may be offset by a partial return of the property. In mortgage fraud cases, this usually entails calculating the lender’s loss — an unpaid loan — and offsetting that loss by the value of the collateral for the loan, which the lender recovers. The circuits disagree about how to value the recovered collateral as an offset to restitution: Should its value be determined by its appraised fair market value or, conversely, by its final foreclosure price when the victim-lender sells it? This Note concludes that courts should presumptively use the foreclosure price, except when that price can be shown not to approximate the value at the date of return.

Keywords: MVRA, restitution, criminal restitution, mortgages, mortgage fraud, federal criminal law

Suggested Citation

Hill, T., The Arithmetic of Justice: Calculating Restitution for Mortgage Fraud (October 21, 2013). 113 Colum. L. Rev. 1939 (2013). Available at SSRN:

T. Hill (Contact Author)

Columbia University - Law School ( email )

435 West 116th Street
New York, NY 10025
United States

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics