Mortgage fraud one of major schemes

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Mortgage fraud schemes continue to be a major problem in communities across the nation, and combating them is one of the Department of Justice’s highest priorities.

U.S. Attorney Bill Killian said the Eastern District of Tennessee is averaging one mortgage fraud case per month.

Total losses estimated by all the mortgage fraud cases currently being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office are in the tens of millions of dollars.

Assistant U.S. attorneys have been active in pursuing the prosecution of these cases.

Reimbursement for victims in these cases is also being aggressively pursued. Killian said the office will continue to actively prosecute these matters and those persons and entities that defraud others of their hard-earned monies in mortgage fraud schemes.

In the last year, the office has obtained convictions against seven individuals involved in four unrelated mortgage fraud schemes.

Additional indictments and convictions are anticipated in the near future.

“Mortgage fraud is one of the most serious economic crimes, and it has contributed significantly to the current economic crisis,” said Killian.

“We have seen mortgage fraud schemes that resulted in dozens of foreclosures and millions of dollars in losses,” he added.

“Some of those who have committed fraud, have bankrupted entire companies and national lenders by their illegal actions.”

The actions of the U.S. Attorney’s Office are a continuation of Operation Stolen Dreams, which targeted mortgage fraudsters throughout the country and was the largest collective enforcement effort ever brought to bear in confronting mortgage fraud.

The operation was organized by the Mortgage Fraud Working Group of President Obama’s interagency Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force, which was established to lead an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes.

From March 1-June 17, 2010, Operation Stolen Dreams involved 1,517 criminal defendants nationwide, including 525 arrests, representing an estimated loss of more than $3 billion.

The operation also resulted in 191 civil enforcement actions and the recovery of more than $196 million.

Members of the public who discover or become a victim of a mortgage fraud scheme should contact the Federal Bureau of Investigation at 544-0751 or Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation at 539-2874.