Monday, June 15, 2009
Office of the Attorney General Hosts Mortgage Fraud SummitAUSTIN – Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott today welcomed state and local authorities, law enforcement officials, prosecutors and other interested Texans to the Office of the Attorney General’s (OAG) Mortgage Fraud Summit.
In the summit’s keynote address, Attorney General Abbott highlighted the OAG’s prosecution of a multi-million dollar criminal mortgage fraud scheme in northeast Texas. Two defendants have been sentenced to lengthy prison terms for engaging in criminal mortgage fraud. Two additional suspects are still awaiting trial. Many of the defendants’ victims, like Corsicana resident Stacey Polk, lost their homes to foreclosure after the defendants inaccurately completed loan applications and falsified supporting documents.
“Federal, state and local officials must work cooperatively and proactively to crack down on mortgage fraud,” Attorney General Abbott said. “Today’s meeting offers officials from multiple agencies an important opportunity to exchange information and share experiences. Together, we can make a difference for Texas homeowners and help prevent one of the nation’s fastest growing crimes.”
Several panels of experts spoke at the Mortgage Fraud Summit, including Matt Gravelle, Special Agent with the FBI-Austin; Chris Day, Special Agent with the FBI-Dallas; Jim Amorin, President of the Appraisal Institute; and Tom Morgan with the Texas Association of Realtors.
Attorneys from the OAG’s Consumer Protection Division, along with county and district attorneys’ offices, presented information about law enforcement efforts to detect and stop fraudulent transactions.
Panelists discussed latest mortgage fraud trends, including foreclosure rescue fraud and falsified loan applications. Speakers also addressed potential legislative solutions, techniques for identifying suspicious banking transactions and the necessity for law enforcement agencies to share information.
Today’s Mortgage Fraud Summit reflects Attorney General Abbott’s continuing focus on schemes that target Texas homeowners. The OAG has taken legal action against a variety of mortgage-related practices, including shutting down eight foreclosure rescue scams. Attorney General Abbott also secured $21 million in restitution for Texas homeowners who were harmed by lending giant Ameriquest Mortgage Co. and obtained another $7 million for Countrywide Financial Corp. customers who lost their homes to foreclosure.
To find out more about Attorney General Abbott’s efforts to assist Texas homebuyers, visit www.texasattorneygeneral.gov or call (800) 252-8011.