Part of the Bay Area News Group

AG Harris launches mortgage fraud strike force

By Josh Richman
Monday, May 23rd, 2011 at 3:04 pm in Attorney General, housing, Kamala Harris.

California Attorney General Kamala Harris today announced she’s creating a Mortgage Fraud Strike Force staffed by state Department of Justice attorneys and investigators charged with the duty of “protecting innocent homeowners and bringing to justice those who defraud them,” according to her news release.

Kamala Harris“Californians in search of the American dream all too often found a protracted personal and legal nightmare. Families are losing their homes, while those who perpetrated crimes and frauds against them walk free,” Harris said. “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. We are setting a high bar for other states and we insist that homeowners be protected, respected, and informed.”

Harris rolled out the new initiative in Los Angeles this afternoon, accompanied by LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and representatives from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Center for Responsible Lending.

Harris’ news release says the strike force will work out of state Justice Department offices in San Francisco, Fresno, Los Angeles and Sacramento, with 25 attorneys and investigators broken into three teams. A 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. A 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. And 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.

There were foreclosure filings against 546,669 California homes in 2010; an estimated 2 million California homes will enter the foreclosure process from 2009 through 2012. The state Justice Department reports it has received thousands of complaints related to foreclosure scams, mortgage fraud, and mortgage servicing practices in the past year.

“The fingerprints of illegal activity are all over the foreclosure crisis,” said Paul Leonard, director of the Center for Responsible Lending’s California office. “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.”

Homeowners who believe they’ve been scammed can file complaints through the Attorney General’s website.

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  • laura cachu

    THIS LETTER IS IN REGUARDS TO ONE OF THE LARGEST, TOP RATED, HOME MORTGAGE LENDERS,
    WELLS FARGO, AND THEIR DECEITFUL, FALSE REPRESENTATION IN DEALING WITH HOME
    LOAN MODIFICATIONS/ REDUCTIONS.
    PRESIDENT OBAMA PUT TOGETHER A $75B MORTGAGE RELIEF PROGRAM, WHICH PROVIDES
    INCENTIVES(MONEY) TO LENDERS THAT HELP QUALIFIYING HOME OWNERS
    ON THE VERGE OF FORCLOSURE , THE GOAL WAS TO LOWER MONTHLY MORTGAGE PAYMENTS
    TO SUSTANIABLE LEVELS, BUT THE OUTCOME HAS BEEN THAT QUALIFYING HOMEOWNERS HAVE
    BEEN SCAMED AND THROWN INTO FORCLOSURE MORE THAN BEFORE.
    THE FACT IS THAT INCOMPETANT LENDERS ARE RECEIEVEING MONEIES BEFORE THE
    COMPLETION OF THIS LOAN MODICFICATION / REDUCTION PROCESS. HOMEOWNERS ARE BEING
    TOLD IN GOOD FAITH “THEY QUALIFIY ” AND WHILE IN THE PROCESS OF COMPLETION ,
    THEY ARE FORCLOSED ON ,
    I KNOW THIS FIRST HAND, I TOO WAS FORCLOSED ON WITHOUT ANY EXPLANATION.
    ON 07-2010 WELLS FARGO TOLD ME , I QUALIFIED FOR A LOAN REDUCTION/MODIFICATION
    BUT I NEEDED TO PAY 2300.00 FOR APPROVAL. I WIRED THEM 2300.00 THAT DAY.
    08-2010 WELLS FARGO PHONED ME WITH SOME QUESTIONS , THEY TOLD ME EVERYTHING
    WAS COMPLETE AND APPROVED . I TOLD THEM THAT I WOULD LIKE TO HAVE MY
    MONTHLY MORTGAGE PAYMENT DEDUCTED OUT OF BANK ACCOUNT, THEY WILL MAIL ME THE
    FORM.
    11-2010 RECEIVED THE FORM FOR DEBITING BANK ACCOUNT, I PHONED WELLS FARGO WITH SOME
    QUESTIONS , AND WAS TOLD MORTGAGE PAYMENT/DEBIT WOULD START 12-2010
    THEN 4 MONTHS LATER( 3-24-2011 )I HAVE A NOTICE OF TRUSTEE’S SALE, POSTED ON MY DOOR
    THAT MY HOME IS TO BE AUCTIONED OFF ON 4-13-2011.
    WHAT HAPPENED ????????
    I PHONED WELLS FARGO AND ASKED FOR SOME EXPLANATIONS, WHY DIDN’T THEY MAIL
    SOMETHING?? PHONE ME?? TRY TO CONTACT ME?? THEY HAVE ALL MY CORRECT INFORMATION.
    I ASKED FOR AN AMOUNT THAT WE OWE THEM NOW ? SO I COULD PAY IT. I WAS TOLD
    “ITS NOT IN MY FILE?” “SO LETS GET THE PAPER WORK STARTED AGAIN” AND I COULD ASK
    FOR A FORCLOSURE SUSPENSION, SO WE DID. I WAS TOLD TO CALL BACK AND CHECK
    ON LOAN MODIFICATION/REDUCTION APPROVAL AND THE FORCLOSURE SUSPENSION.
    I CALLED DAILY, SOMTEIMES TWICE CHECKING. NOTHING HAD BEEN POSTED.
    4-06-2011 I TELEPHONED WELLS FARGO AGAIN , NOTHING WAS POSTED , I AGAIN ASKED
    ABOUT A AMOUNT WE COULD PAY TO STOP THE FORCLOSURE ?? AND WAS TOLD , AGAIN,
    ” NOTHING HAD BEEN POSTED” I ASKED “WHATS TAKING SO LONG” I WAS TOLD
    ” IF I PAY THEM $3200.00 THINGS WOULD SPEED UP, GET GOING FASTER. ”
    I REMINDED HER THAT BACK ON 7/10 I PAID $2300,00 TO QUALIFY, AND NOW I AM IN
    FORCLOSURE WITH A SALE DATE JUST A FEW DAYS AWAY . I WANT TO KNOW WHERE THAT
    MONEY WENT?? AND WHAT HAPPENED?? I WAS TOLD “ITS NOT IN MY FILE”
    4-12-11 I RECEIVED A PHONE CALL A DAY BEFORE MY HOUSE IS TO BE AUCTIONED, I HAD BEEN DENIED,
    BUT NOW THEY HAVE AN AMOUNT I COULD PAY TO SAVE MY HOUSE , BUT NOW ITS TOO LATE
    TO PAY
    WHY WASN’T I TOLD an AMOUNT ? THEN I ASKED FOR SUPRVISOR AND WAS TOLD THAT,
    “THEY DO THE SAME THING AS A SUPERVISOR WOULD , SO HOW CAN THEY HELP ME TODAY?”
    THEY ALSO INFORMED ME THAT ” WELLS FARGO ALMOST ALWAYS BUY THE HOUSES BACK ??’
    I DIDN’T UNDERSTAND AT THE TIME WHAT THIS MEANT ,
    I WAS TOLD ” WELLS FARGO WILL GET INTOUCH WITH ME AFTER THE AUCTIONING OFF OF MY HOUSE
    AND TRY TO WORK A PLAN THAT SUITS ME?
    MY HOUSE WAS AUCTIONED OFF THE NEXT DAY,
    2 WEEKS LATER I RECEIVE PAPERS THAT FREDDIE MAC BOUGHT IT , SO THAT WAS WHAT THEY MEANT.
    I THEN PHONED A WELL FARGOS LOAN SPECIALIST LOCALLY I KNOW AND WAS TOLD “THIS IS A GAME
    WELLS FARGO PLAYS , “JUST DO EVERYTHING THEY ASK AND IT SHOULD WORK OUT”
    BUT WHAT HE SHOULD OF SAID WAS , “JUST DO WHAT THEY ASK AND MOVE OUT ”

    WE ARE HARD WORKING , TAX PAYING, LAW ABIDING, U.S. .CITIZENS AND DESEREVE BETTER,
    ESPECIALLY, SINCE ITS TAX PAYING DOLLARS BEING USED !
    ANY HELP OR INFO WOULD BE APPRECIATED
    I CAN BE REACHED AT CACHU67@AOL.COM.
    OR
    laura cachu
    825 saginaw
    dinuba,ca 93618
    559-591-8643
    559-590-5828

  • Elwood

    Yo,Laura!

    If you didn’t put your rant in ALL CAPS and used a paragraph occasionally, someone might read it.

  • Anne Ohlinger

    yo elwood
    i read the whole letter.
    It is clear you are part of the problem you selfish ass

  • Elwood

    @ Anne

    Congratulations to you dear.

    Any further information as to what problem I am a part of and how that makes me a selfish ass would certainly be appreciated.

    Have a nice life!