U.S. Senate Votes To Create Nationwide Mortgage Fraud Task

Nationwide Mortgage Fraud Task Force Modeled After Miami’s Mayor Carlos Alvarez’s Mortage Fraud Task Force

WASHINGTON – On Wednesday, May 6 the U.S. Senate voted 91 to 5 on Bill S.896 Helping Families Save Their Homes Act of 2009.

Section 302 of the bill, which was introduced by U.S. Senator Bill Nelson and Congressman Kendrick Meek of Florida and amended onto Bill S.896, establishes a Nationwide Mortgage Fraud Task Force within the U.S. Attorney General’s Office modeled after Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Alvarez’s Mortgage Fraud Task Force. Bill S.896 was introduced by U.S. Senator Christopher J. Dodd of Connecticut. In the U.S. House of Representatives, Bill H.R.1106 was introduced by Congressman John Conyers, Jr. of Michigan in February 2009.

“Mortgage fraud is one of the fastest growing crimes in Miami-Dade County and the entire country,” said Mayor Alvarez. “Last year, more than 1,000 mortgage fraud cases were reported in our community and 63,000 cases nationwide. This new bill will help all communities reduce mortgage fraud and prevent victimization. I want to thank my Task Force Chairman Glenn Theobald and all of the federal legislators for this new legislation.”

The Nationwide Mortgage Fraud Task Force, which will operate under the U.S. Attorney General, will address mortgage fraud in the U.S. The Attorney General shall provide the Task Force with the appropriate staff, administrative support and other resources.

The Task Force will solicit the voluntary participation of federal, state and local law enforcement and prosecutorial agencies to organize initiatives to address mortgage fraud, including initiatives to enforce federal and state mortgage fraud laws.

Since its creation in September 2007, Miami-Dade County Mayor Alvarez’s Mortgage Fraud Task Force has:

· Made more than 150 arrests

· Drafted new state legislation, Florida Statutes 193.133, which was adopted on July 1, 2008. The new legislation requires law enforcement to notify the property appraiser’s office when fraud has been detected and mortgage fraud over $100,000 will now be considered 2nd degree felonies.

· Created the first Code of Conduct Model for real estate professionals and others involved in real estate transactions.

· Created the first local public/private partnership Task Force in the nation to fight mortgage fraud.

· Streamlined reporting and investigating of mortgage fraud by creating an online form.

· Created a Speaker’s Bureau.

· Involved other local, state and federal agencies in a comprehensive approach to fight mortgage crime.

Mayor Carlos Alvarez’s Mortgage Fraud Task Force

The Mayor’s Mortgage Fraud Task Force is chaired by Glenn Theobald, Chief Counsel of the Miami-Dade Police Department, and made up of law enforcement officials, prosecutors, business leaders, elected officials and other public servants.

Through their vision and direction the Task Force aims to help reduce and prevent mortgage fraud through law enforcement and prosecution, legislation and public education. The Task Force was created in September 2007.

Mayor Carlos Alvarez’s Mortgage Fraud Task Force Partners

Miami-Dade Police Department, Miami-Dade County Consumer Services Department, Miami-Dade County Property Appraiser’s Office, Miami-Dade County Clerk of the Courts, Miami-Dade County State Attorney’s Office, U.S. Secret Service, U.S. Attorney’s Office, IRS, FBI, Office of the Treasury, the Florida Attorney General’s Office, Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Office of Financial Regulation, and the Department of Business and Professional Regulation.

Coldwell Banker; Regions Bank; Florida Bankers Association; Florida Attorneys Title “The Fund;” Cohen, Fox; Coffey, Burlington; Abacus Lending; and National Title Insurance.

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