Report: N.Y. AG hires former prosecutor to help with mortgage probe

Jessica M. Karmasek Jun. 5, 2012, 9:20am


NEW YORK (Legal Newsline) - New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has reportedly hired a former federal prosecutor to run his office's investigation into mortgage-backed securities by banks amid the housing crisis.

According to Reuters, Virginia Chavez Romano will help the attorney general as he coordinates with a national mortgage crisis unit that aims to investigate home lending by banks.

Schneiderman spokesman James Freedland told the news service that Romano, a former assistant U.S. attorney in New York, led a similar investigation into mortgage-backed securities during her time as a federal prosecutor.

"Deputy Attorney General Romano brings a wealth of experience to her role helping to oversee our office's work investigating potential misconduct that led to crash of the mortgage market," he said Monday.

Freedland told Reuters that Romano also will work closely with the federal task force, which Schneiderman co-chairs.

President Barack Obama announced the creation of the task force during his State of the Union address in January.

"This new unit will hold accountable those who broke the law, speed assistance to homeowners, and help turn the page on an era of recklessness that hurt so many Americans," Obama said at the time.

Schneiderman, who joined the unit along with officials from the Department of Justice, Internal Revenue Service and the Securities and Exchange Commission, has said that it will focus on those actions that created the financial crisis, not the abuses that occurred after.

"In coordination with our federal partners, our office will continue its steadfast commitment to holding those responsible for the economic crisis accountable, providing meaningful relief for homeowners commensurate with the scale of the misconduct, and getting our economy moving again," the attorney general said at the time.

The task force's working group held a two-day meeting in Washington last week -- just the third time the full group has met.

The group was expected to discuss ongoing investigations, identify new potential targets and coordinate strategies, according to a May 24 news release by the DOJ.

So far, the task force has issued more than 25 civil subpoenas, the DOJ said in the release.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at

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