Thusday, September 30, 2010, concluded the second of two Mortgage Fraud Summits held by representatives of the Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force. The first summit was in Fresno, California, on September 29, and the second in Los Angeles, California, on September 30. The task force is composed of representatives from a broad range of federal agencies, regulatory authorities, inspectors general, and state and local law enforcement agencies.
In Fresno, the task force members met with Fresno community members, legal services providers, banking, mortgage and real estate industry representatives, and law enforcement officials to discuss the problem of mortgage fraud from a national, state, and local perspective. In the morning, attendees participated in panels on mortgage fraud trends in Fresno and the community impact of mortgage fraud. In the afternoon, task force representatives met privately with law enforcement officials involved in the investigation of mortgage fraud.
“This Administration has made protecting America’s working families from financial fraud a top priority,” said Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division Tony West. “The President’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force has brought together the government’s civil and criminal capabilities to uncover mortgage fraud schemes and hold those who commit fraud accountable to the fullest extent of the law.”
“White collar financial crimes strike at the economic heart of the American system. To the extent that we can uncover and prosecute these activities, it’s to everyone’s benefit,” said Deputy Inspector General at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Michael P. Stephens. “Accordingly, I am happy to lend the HUD Office of Inspector General’s nationwide expertise to this exceptional group of law enforcement agencies.”
“Our best approach to tackling these issues is through joint investigations with our fellow federal, state and local law enforcement partners,” Special Agent in Charge of the Sacramento FBI Office Drew Parenti said. “Our focus has and will continue to be on industry professionals who have manipulated or abused the mortgage process for their own personal gain.”
U.S. Attorney Ben Wagner said, “The Eastern District of California has been one of the hardest hit by the mortgage fraud crisis, and the people in our communities have suffered the consequences of it – from steeply reduced home values, to ruined credit, to foreclosures and evictions. Lenders have suffered losses as a result of fraud by real estate and mortgage professionals, their own employees, and by buyers, all of whom took advantage of an atmosphere where fraud was rife and commissions were easy. This district has dedicated extraordinary resources to pursuing those who perpetrated mortgage fraud, and continues to increase its efforts, follow new trends, and achieve significant results.”
Summit participants also included Executive Director of the Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force Robb Adkins, representatives from the Federal Trade Commission, the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, United States Postal Inspection Service, U.S. Secret Service, the California Department of Justice and local police agencies.
Mortgage fraud is a key focus of the Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force’s efforts. The task force is working to improve efforts across the federal executive branch, and with state and local partners, to investigate and prosecute significant financial crimes, ensure just and effective punishment for those who perpetrate financial crimes, combat discrimination in the lending and financial markets, and recover proceeds for victims of financial crimes.
For more information, visit StopFraud.gov.