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NJ Targets Scammers Preying On Distressed Homeowners

As part of the national Distressed Homeowner Initiative described by Attorney General Eric Holder and other federal officials, the District of New Jersey has brought a number of significant criminal cases involving felony offenses during the fiscal year which closed Sept. 30, 2012. That announcement came today from U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman.

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The cases involved numerous homeowner victims and losses estimated by law enforcement in the millions of dollars.

“The victims of these crimes include homeowners who find themselves struggling to hold on to their biggest financial asset – their home,” says Fishman. “Unscrupulous criminals take advantage of that desperation and cause even more misery with the false promise of help. They also cheat banks out of millions of dollars in mortgages that will never be repaid.”

Fishman says in one scheme, the con-artist typically promises the homeowner that he can prevent foreclosure for a substantial fee by having so-called investors purchase the mortgage, or transferring title in the home to persons in league with the scammer. In the end, the homeowner can lose everything.

Another targets of the Distressed Homeowner Initiative include perpetrators of loan modification schemes who obtained advance fees from homeowners after falsely promising that they would negotiate more favorable mortgage terms on behalf of the homeowners.

Holder explains, “These comprehensive efforts represent an historic, government-wide commitment to eradicating mortgage fraud and related offenses. The success of the Distressed Homeowner Initiative, and the developments we announce today, underscore our determination to pursue these and other financial fraud criminals around the country.”

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