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Maryland’s Chairwoman of the Commerce Fights Mortgage Fraud

U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski

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Mikulski includes additional DOJ and FBI funds in CJS Appropriations Bill to track down and prosecute perpetrators of mortgage fraud

WASHINGTON, D.C. (LoanSafe.org)  – U.S. Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.), Chairwoman of the Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS) Subcommittee, announced that the Omnibus Appropriations Act filed today provides increased funds and resources to track down and prosecute perpetrators of mortgage and financial fraud.

“It’s time to foreclose on the bad guys and stop the foreclosures on homes,” Chairwoman Mikulski said. “I, like most Americans, am outraged by the predatory practices, deceptive marketing and lending schemes that have swept across the country – especially in Maryland.”

Mortgage fraud is on the rise and FBI cites it as the most significant financial threat under its jurisdiction. More than 67,000 cases of mortgage fraud were reported in 2009, an 869 percent increase since 2002. During that same time, resources to uncover and prosecute financial fraud were thinned as funding and personnel shifted to national security efforts after 9/11.

The fiscal year 2011 CJS bill includes $949 million for the Justice Department to combat financial fraud – a $101 million increase over last year. That translates into an additional $75 million for the FBI to fight mortgage and financial fraud. The FBI will have a total of $454 million to expand FBI Mortgage Fraud Task Forces across the country, to hire 143 new special agents and recruit 45 new forensic accountants and analysts to increase its field investigative capacity and ability to conduct complex financial investigations.

“I want people to know that the government is on their side,” Chairwoman Mikulski said. “We want all those who are just trying to keep their heads above water and buy a home to know that when they go to get a loan, they are dealing with honest, reputable dealers.”

Chairwoman Mikulski has led Senate efforts to put more funding in the federal checkbook to go after perpetrators of financial fraud. She secured $10 million in the 2009 Omnibus Appropriations Act for the FBI to hire at least 25 new special agents to investigate mortgage fraud. At the time, it was the first and only federal funding for law enforcement specifically dedicated to cracking down on mortgage fraud. She followed up with $35 million in the 2009 Supplemental appropriations bill to hire an additional 30 agents dedicated to mortgage fraud and another $75 million in the 2010 appropriations bill to hire 50 new agents and 60 new forensic accountants to investigate complex financial investigations.

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