CA Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Announces Creation of Mortgage Fraud Strike Force to Protect Homeowners

Press Release
May 23, 2011
For Immediate Release
Contact: (415) 703-5837

Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Announces Creation of Mortgage Fraud Strike Force to Protect Homeowners

LOS ANGELES – Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today announced the creation of the California Attorney General’s Mortgage Fraud Strike Force, staffed by Department of Justice attorneys and investigators charged with protecting innocent homeowners and bringing to justice those who defraud them.

Composed of both civil and criminal enforcement teams, the Mortgage Fraud Strike Force will monitor and prosecute violations at every step of the mortgage process, from the origination of mortgage loans to the marketing of mortgage-backed securities to the investing public.

“Californians in search of the American dream all too often found a protracted personal and legal nightmare,” said Attorney General Harris. “Families are losing their homes, while those who perpetrated crimes and frauds against them walk free.”

At her announcement of the new mortgage fraud unit, Attorney General Harris was joined by Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa, representatives from U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Center for Responsible Lending, as well as homeowners harmed by unlawful lending, servicing and foreclosure practices.

“We will work to safeguard the homeowner at every step of the process – from origination of a loan to its securitization, and we will prosecute to the fullest extent of the law those who take advantage of trusting California families,” said Attorney General Harris. “We are setting a high bar for other states and we insist that homeowners be protected, respected, and informed.”

The Mortgage Fraud Strike Force will operate out of Department of Justice offices in Los Angeles, Fresno, San Francisco and Sacramento. Twenty-five attorneys and investigators will work together in three teams:

– The consumer enforcement team will target scams in the consumer arena, including predatory lending, unfair business practices in originating loans, deceptive marketing, and loan modification and foreclosure consultant scams.

– The criminal enforcement team will prosecute criminal frauds associated with the epidemic of mortgage scams, including fraudulent investment and money laundering schemes related to mortgage lending or foreclosure relief.

– The corporate fraud team will target misconduct involving investments and securities tied to subprime mortgages, as well as false or fraudulent claims made to the state with respect to these securities.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa offered his support of the new strike force. “With nearly 10,000 foreclosures in the City of Los Angeles last year,” he said, “this strike force is certain to help countless residents and families from becoming victimized.”

“The Attorney General’s authority and attention to this issue brings a critical law enforcement component to the table that will help stop the practice of predatory lending once and for all,” said Mayor Villaraigosa. “I applaud Attorney General Harris for her dedication to employing swift justice to the scam artists who prey on the residents of some of our most economically vulnerable neighborhoods.”

California has been hit hard by the foreclosure crisis, and by predators who seek to profit from the millions of Californians who are underwater in their mortgages, in foreclosure, or at risk of entering foreclosure.

Last year alone, there were foreclosure filings against 546,669 California homes. It is projected that between 2009 and 2012, a total of 2 million California homes will enter the foreclosure process. In the last year, the California Department of Justice has received thousands of complaints related to foreclosure scams, mortgage fraud, and mortgage servicing practices.

“The fingerprints of illegal activity are all over the foreclosure crisis,” said Paul Leonard, director of the California Office, Center for Responsible Lending. “The Attorney General’s effort marries the need to punish bad actors for the practices that brought our economy to the brink with the need to eliminate the scam artists who have since attempted to profit from it. Given the economic damage wreaked by foreclosures in California, this initiative is very welcome news.”

Attorney General Harris has long been dedicated to prosecuting mortgage fraud. In 2009, as District Attorney of San Francisco, she launched the first stand-alone district attorney’s mortgage fraud unit in California with $1.1 million from the U.S. Department of Justice.

If you are a homeowner who has been scammed, you can learn more or file a complaint online with the Attorney General’s office at: http://oag.ca.gov/consumers.

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4closureFraud.org

Comments
17 Responses to “CA Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Announces Creation of Mortgage Fraud Strike Force to Protect Homeowners”
  1. This Phrase..I copied from one of the participants…IT’S EXACTLY HAPPENING WITH MY CASE & HOW THE LEGISLATORS R NOT PAYING ATTENTION, EXCEPT FOR THOSE SEEKING…TO GET ‘MEDIA’…ATTENTION? U WILL RECEIVE MY VERSION AGAIN…SINCE NO ONE HAS TAKEN ME SERIOUSLY, I’M GOING TO GO VIRAL..ON THIS ISSUE, THAT CLEARLY SHOWS… DEFICIENCY…IN OUT JUSTICE SYSTEM!!!..(is this included the property being foreclosed by using manufactured and fabricated documentation by using the robot- signers? )..UN REAL MS. HARRIS… U WILL RECEIVE THE PACKAGE…REAL SOON!!…I KNOW U DO CARE & WANTS TO KNOW ABOUT…UNDER ESTIMATED WOMEN… WITH DARK SKIN…FROM ANOTHER COUNTRY,…THAT CONTINUOUSLY BEING HARASSED.. AS LOW CLASS NON EXCISING INDIVIDUALS,.. (what about the judges who blindly sided with the pretender lenders could also be prosecuted?).. Californians needs to be inform….DO WE EVER NEED??? YES TIME IS NOW!!!

  2. Dear Honorable Ms. Harris! I’m simply amazed…in respect to my % PERCENT… ‘Fraudulent’ Foreclosure, invented by My SO…..CALL LENDERS? THE COMPLAINT WAS NOT..INVESTIGATED…PROPERLY, WHEN IT CLEARLY, SHOWS WHAT THEY HAVE BEEN DOING & STILL..AT IT? I’M OUT OF WORDS…TO EXPRESS CONCERNS…WITH OUR JUSTICE SYSTEM..THAT TOOK…LENDERS SIDE, WITHOUT EXAMINING MY COMPLIANT WAS ABOUT?. OR SEEING ANY OF MY “ORIGINAL LOAN DOCS”…NOT ONLY THEIRS!!! WE R NOT GOING TO B ..LIKE .COMMUNISTS….R WE?..I KNOW WE WILL NEVER B..BUT MY SITUATION SEEMS LIKE NO LONGER JUST MY FIGHT AGAINST ONE FLIGHT!..U WILL RECEIVE MORE INFO…THAT.. MIGHT RAISE YR HAIR…FOR THE WAY MY COMPLAINT WAS HANDLED!!!THANK U FOR YR PRESTIGIOUS ATTENTION!!
    BEST TO U! YOUNG LADY..CA ,ATTORNEY GENERAL ..MS> KAMALA HARRIS!!

    Chandrika Lund

  3. Barbra Orr says:

    I think AG Harris is doing the best job she can. i think she is trying to work thru the nightmare on Elm St. It would not matter where she started there would be some that would be upset.
    FIRST: any property in foreclosure has an automatic chance to modify, ALL MODIFICATIONS REQUIRE A PRINCIPAL REDUCTION , THAT IS CONTINGENT UPON HOMEOWNER LIVING IN THE PROPERTY FOR AN AGREED UPON TIME. iF THEY MOVE AND THE MARKET HAS TURNED FAVORABLE DURING THAT TIME A CETAIN PERCENT OF THE PROFIT IF ANY IS SPLIT WITH THE LENDER. iT WOULD BE SET UP LIKE A PREPAYMENT PENALTY. THAT WOULD BE FAIR FOR BOTH SIDES.
    ALL ACCRUED INTEREST BE FORGIVEN. THAT STARTS WITH THE TRIAL PERIOD. tHE PAYMENT BE A PRINCIPAL AND INTEREST PAYMENT. THE STARTING BALANCE NOT BE MORE THAN 105% OF THE APPRAISED VALUE.
    i HAVE MORE THAT HOWEVER IS GOOD FOR STARTERS.

    • lvent says:

      Oh yeah right, Babara Orr….she and all of these AGs are just doing as little as possible so their own lies and fraud do not get exposed or so they dont get shot in the head like Gabby Giffords did…and the truth is …our homes and businesses are paid for by WE THE PEOPLE and have been since WE THE PEOPLE RECEIVED the RECORDED PAID STAMPED DEEDS…THAT ARE IN ALL OF OUR POSSESSIONS…..AND REGARDLESS OF EVEN THAT…ALL OF THE NOTES AND MORTGAGES ARE A NULLITY BECA– USE OF THE ORIGINATION FRAUD…AND HAVE BEEN SINCE THESE FEDERAL RESERVE CROOKS COMMITTED THE ORIGINATION FRAUD….AND TONS OF OTHER FRAUDS IN OUR NAMES WITH OUR NOTES AND ANYTHING WITH OR WITHOUT A REVENUE FLOW…….AND STOLE AND PLUNDERED ALL OF OUR WEALTH….AND BTW..BARBARA ORR…DONT YOU KNOW THAT THE TRUTH IS… FRAUD VITIATES AND DESTROYS AND NULLIFIES EVERYTHING…. !!! WE THE PEOPLE ARE FREE AND CLEAR AND WE DONT OWE ANYONE A DIME…THESE CRIMINALS OWE WE THE PEOPLE…GAGILLIONS…..!!! PROBABLY MORE THAN ANY OF THEM ARE EVEN WORTH…THAT IS WHY THEY ARE INSOLVENT…AND THEIR DEBT FRAUD IS UNSUSTAINABLE AND THEY ALL NEED TO BE SHUT DOWN AND HUNG…! AND WE NEED OUR OWN CURRENCY…U.S. BANK NOTES..ISSUED VIA STATE BANKS….NOW…!

      • lvent says:

        PISS OFF BARBARA, AND STOP THE CRIMINAL DECEPTIONS…IT IS INCREDIBLY EVIL…MORE EVIL THAN THE ORIGINATION FRAUD OR THE MASSIVE COLLATERAL FRAUD THESE FED RESERVE CROOKS HAVE COMMITTED THEMSELES….NO ONE WHO KNOWS THE TRUTH IS INTERESTED IN MODIFYING OR REFI-ING ALL OF THESE FED RESERVE CRIMIMALS MASSIVE AND UNSUSTAINABLE COLLATERAL DEBT FRAUD…! WE THE PEOPLE WANT OUR STOLEN FUCKING WEALTH BACK AND ALL CRIMINALS AND TRAITORS HELD ACCOUNTABLE…RIGHT FUCKING NOW…!

  4. I’ve never been in any threat of foreclosure. It’s been all the banks doing simply based on the fact that two and a half years ago I was offered a refi just before I returned to UCLA as a Grad student. They then became predatory against me and my home and forged a signature on a document. When I complained to the Secratary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner, I got a chain letter from them TWO YEARS LATER which referred to a phone number that did not work. This is the government at work for you and Obama iand Geithner are callously dishonest and incompetent. They don’t get that we’re in this economic pickle because they bailed out the banks with billions of tax payer dollars while allowing the banks to turn around and act in a predatory fashion against homeowners — no way to report a fraudulent bank — no way to protect yourself.

  5. I’m so sick of our government paying lip service to bank abuse and pontificating about HAMP.

    • lvent says:

      Screw ’em, these are unsecured debts and neither Government can legally enforce a foreclosure for an unsecured debt…God Bless America…….There are laws and rights that protect WE THE PEOPLE from FRAUDCLOSURE…YOU JUST HAVE TO DO YOUR OWN HOMEWORK..No attorney is going to tell you the truth…..That is why this is called FORECLOSUREGATE….This is the biggest cover-up for the biggest Ponzi Scheme swindle and heist and ROBBERY of the American people in history…

  6. Shahien Nasiripour

    shahien@huffingtonpost.com

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    Like. 889Elizabeth Warren: Government Hasn’t Sufficiently Probed Foreclosure Abuses (VIDEO)

    Senior Obama Administration Official Says Government Hasn’t Sufficiently Probed Foreclosure Abuses; Elizabeth Warren Is First To Raise Questions Publicly
    Posted: 7/15/11 09:22 AM ET

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    stumble WASHINGTON — A top Obama administration official on Thursday questioned the scope of the state and federal investigations into alleged mortgage abuses and “illegal” foreclosures perpetrated by the nation’s largest mortgage companies, marking the first time a senior White House official publicly broke ranks with the administration over the issue and raising fresh questions about the wisdom of the government’s rush to settle with the firms.

    Elizabeth Warren, a senior adviser to President Barack Obama and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, told a congressional panel that government agencies may not have sufficiently investigated claims that borrowers’ homes were illegally seized by banks such as JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Citigroup and Ally Financial.

    “I think there’s a real question about whether there’s been adequate investigation,” said Warren, the temporary custodian of the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection, a new federal agency charged with protecting borrowers from abusive lenders. Her statement came in response to questions from Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), a former federal prosecutor who asked Warren why her agency needed to oversee such abuses when the U.S. Department of Justice is already probing such matters.

    Warren, a passionate consumer advocate, has long questioned whether the state and federal probes have been comprehensive, according to people familiar with her views. The investigations were launched last year amid news reports that the lenders were at times improperly repossessing borrowers’ homes and breaking state laws and federal rules in the process.

    But she had not publicly shared that view, which is widelyspread among individuals with direct knowledge of the probes, until the Thursday appearance before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

    She’s the first senior administration official to publicly question the thoroughness of the investigations led by the Justice Department, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Treasury Department, Federal Trade Commission, all 50 state attorneys general and more than 30 state bank regulators.

    The nation’s five largest mortgage firms have saved more than $20 billion since the housing crisis began in 2007 by taking shortcuts in processing troubled borrowers’ home loans, according to a confidential presentation prepared for state attorneys general by Warren’s agency. That estimate suggests large banks have reaped tremendous benefits from under-serving distressed homeowners, a complaint frequent enough among borrowers that federal regulators have acknowledged the industry has fundamental shortcomings, including a penchant to abuse borrowers, and is in need of reform.

  7. Nongkoashie says:

    Let’s put this “Ass Holes” bahind prison bars

  8. laurence says:

    Ahhh! I see that the circus is coming back to town, this time they have a new attraction “exotic stuff” i understand.

  9. Catherine Mc Manus says:

    WTG ! California AG Kam Harris !!
    please educate Florida AG Pam Bondi, apparently she cannot comprehend what her job is-
    BONDI should be protecting CONSUMERS not BANKS.

  10. I see more persecution for legitimate foreclosure defense lawyers in CA, but zilch for foreclosure fraud.

    Seriously CA .. is there any interest at all in protecting your citizens or are you that desperate to rebuild the sub-prime sewer in LA/OC counties that you’ll just continue to ignore their ongoing crimes?

  11. John Stickler says:

    This task force is fine for people who have already been cheated, but what about the hundreds of thousands of Californians still in line for foreclosure and eviction? Saving them will require legislative action.
    The average U.S. home price has just dropped below the nadir we hit in 2008 and is projected to slide another five percent this year.
    New home sales are now at the lowest level ever recorded and will continue to slide as mortgage interest rates climb.
    The U.S. Census Bureau has revealed that 11 percent of all U.S. residences are now empty, that’s an astounding 18.4 million homes, and projections show millions more in the foreclosure pipeline. This tsunami of unsold properties will take years to unload. The glut of empty units drives down the value of all homes, keeps homebuilders from starting new projects, and qualified buyers waiting until values “hit bottom.”
    The only answer is to force the lenders to modify upside-down mortgages back to current market values – allowing homeowners to remain in their homes making payments they can afford while rebuilding their equity. This will slow the overwhelming onslaught of foreclosures, reduce the flood of empty homes onto the market, keep home prices and neighborhoods from deteriorating any further, and offer some hope that the real estate segment of the economy will one day recover.
    Without this approach the downward death spiral will continue and California, and the nation, will not see an economic turnaround any time soon.

    • Catherine Mc Manus says:

      I do not want a “mofification” I demand MEDIATION. I have begged to pay BOA/CountryFried for 2 !/2 years. BOA/ MARSHALL WATSON must provide a different servicer than MARSHALL WATSON
      My first request would be PROOF OF OWNERSHIP-TITLE AUDIT PROVIDED BY BANK/SERVICER
      then an Amortization & Corrected ESCROW Statement, only then I would agree to make payments.
      NO FEES-no re-instatement fees, no late fees, no Plaintiff attorney fees, no servicer fees (my Attorney must be paid). They must pay all recording fees owed to my COUNTY. I’m also going to insist they start with the current date of the MEDIATION for me to begin making payments forget about receiving any back payments beginning Jan 2009, so called payments for Insurance/Escrow Overbilling too.
      Start from scratch-without back payments & unfair fees. Notice I have not asked for DAMAGES to my Health, Safety, Credit or Character. Why should we have to pay late charges when the deliquency/default was caused by the Banks/Servicers. My Attorney set up a Mortgage Payment Trust Account to prove ability & willingness to pay-after two 1/2 years I have stopped making payments to that account in fear the bank will steal it too. MEDIATION is the only answer for me-and if my terms are not met-they can spend/lose thousands more, trying to take my home.
      NO MODIFICATION of their lies…that gives them the message that PEOPLE AGREE/APPROVE of their
      falisfied, “mistakes”. MEDIATION MEDIATION MEDIATION by a THIRD UNAFFILIATED PARTY.

  12. boots says:

    is this included the property being foreclosed by using manufactured and fabricated documentation by using the robo- signers? what about the judges who blindly sided with the pretender lenders could also be prosecuted? californians needs to be inform.

    • Hell NO - No More Bail-Outs or FALSE Modification Programs (Ahem or A-hamp) says:

      All I see CA doing currently is stifling any help for home owners. The banksters own the state legislature, the DRE, the governor (look to where sister Kathleen has worked – Bank of Amerifraud and CountryWide and now Goldman-Sucks).

      Will Kamala be able to take the AG office on a different path than the prior leader, Jerry, when Jerry has simply moved up to the Governor’s office?

      Are we simply getting some public pablum to satisfy Kamala’s campaign promises? Will the banksters bring a sufficient buy-off for her too?

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