State Attorneys General Participate in Mortgage Fraud Sweep

State Attorneys General, as members of the Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force (FFETF), participated in the broadest mortgage fraud sweep in history. Starting March 1 to mid-June, Operation Stolen Dreams has involved 1,215 criminal defendants nationwide, including 485 arrests, who are allegedly responsible for more than $2.3 billion in losses. It has also resulted in 191 civil enforcement actions which have resulted in the recovery of more than $147 million.

The FFETF was established to lead an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. Last November, an Executive Order by President Obama designated seven federal departments and 20 federal agencies as FFETF members and specifically directed the chair to include the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) and the National District Attorneys Association (NDAA) in the effort. The FFETF work was divided between five working groups – Mortgage Fraud, Securities Fraud, Recovery Act Fraud, Rescue Fraud, and Non-Discrimination. NAAG was invited to participate in two of those working groups. Attorneys General Rob McKenna (Wash.), Tom Miller (Iowa), and John Suthers (Colo.) were appointed co-chairs of the Mortgage Fraud and Recovery Act Fraud working groups. Attorney General Roy Cooper (N.C.) is also co-chair of the Recovery Act Fraud Working Group and Attorney General Chris Koster (Mo.) is also a co-chair of the Mortgage Fraud Working Group. Both working groups are active in developing enforcement strategies and coordinating enforcement actions between federal and state offices.

“Mortgage fraud ruins lives, destroys families and devastates whole communities, so attacking the problem from every possible direction is vital,” said U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder during a June 17, Washington, D.C., press conference to announce the sweep results. “We will use every tool available to investigate, prosecute and prevent mortgage fraud, and we will not rest until anyone preying on vulnerable American homeowners is brought to justice.”

Operation Stolen Dreams focused not only on federal criminal cases, but also on civil enforcement, recovering money for victims and increasing cooperation with state and local partners. The operation was conducted in conjunction with the U.S. Dept. of Justice, NAAG, NDAA, U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development, U.S. Dept. of Treasury, the Federal Trade Commission, the Internal Revenue Service, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the U.S. Secret Service.

For more information on the task force, visit www.StopFraud.gov.

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