Posted on 23 May 2011.
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.
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.”
“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.”
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