Michigan counties file unprecedented foreclosure fraud suits
Counties, states may have lost tens of millions
Two Michigan counties, Oakland and Ingham, are suing some of the biggest players in the mortgage industry for what one official called a “fraudulent conspiracy” to avoid paying state and county property transfer taxes.
Oakland County Treasurer Andy Meisner is suing mortgage giants Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae in the nation’s first federal lawsuit seeking to recoup tax payments never paid on properties that were transferred several times during the height of and during the foreclosure crisis that has gripped the nation over the last few years,
“I do think it’s fraudulent and I do think there is strong evidence to suggest there has been fraud. I do think it is a fraudulent conspiracy,” Meisner said. “We are identfying the people involved and we are systematically working to hold them accountable.”
While Ingham County Register of Deeds Curtis Hertel Jr. would not go so far as to allege a “fraudulent conspiracy” he says that the aim of his lawsuit is to find out just how deep the malfeasance went.
“This is about getting to the truth,” Hertel said Wednesday, standing in front of one of the many foreclosed and empty houses in the city of Lansing. “I believe the crisis has been further exacerbated by a systematic attempt to avoid state transfer taxes in my office.”
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