AGs meet with federal officials over mortgage fraud

Chris Rizo Sep. 18, 2009, 1:33am

Terry Goddard (D)

WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline)--Twelve state attorneys general took part in a meeting Thursday with U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner to discuss mortgage fraud.

Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard, one of the state officials taking part in the meeting, said federal officials committed to working with states to help curb mortgage fraud abuse by coordinating information and resources across agencies.

"I am aggressively prosecuting those who take advantage of struggling families, and I appreciate that the (Obama) administration is listening to the recommendations of state attorneys general to streamline modification programs to provide real relief," Goddard said in a statement.

Officials also pledged to alert financial institutions to emerging schemes and to step up enforcement actions against nefarious companies.

"A clear lesson of this financial crisis is that American consumers need better protection against fraud," Geithner said in a statement. "And while we will prosecute anyone who violated the law, going forward we will not wait for problems to peak before we respond."

Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said there is a new partnership between state and federal officials to pursue scammers who prey on struggling homebuyers.

"We mark the start of an aggressive allied attack on mortgage rescue scams, joining state and federal regulators to track down and crack down on these scammers," Blumenthal said.

State attorneys general involved in the meeting in addition to Goddard and Blumenthal were: Roy Cooper of North Carolina, Richard Cordray of Ohio, Doug Gansler of Maryland, Chris Koster of Missouri, Patrick Lynch of Rhode Island, Lisa Madigan of Illinois, Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada, Dustin McDaniel of Arkansas, Rob McKenna of Washington and Tom Miller of Iowa.

The closed-door meeting also included Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan, Federal Trade Commission Chairman Jon Leibowitz and Financial Crimes Enforcement Network Director Jim Freis.

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