New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman has announced the introduction of his bill in the state legislature that is designed to protect New Yorkers from fraudulent business practices in the foreclosure process.
The legislation – the Foreclosure Fraud Prevention Act of 2012, sponsored by Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein, D-Brooklyn – makes foreclosure-related fraud a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine, for employees or agents of a residential mortgage business who ‘knowingly authorize, prepare, execute or offer for filing false documents in a pending or prospective residential foreclosure action.’
Furthermore, the bill makes it a Class E felony, punishable by up to four years in state prison, for such employees to engage in multiple acts of foreclosure fraud, and also makes it a Class E felony for a ‘high managerial agent’ of a residential mortgage business to ‘recklessly tolerate’ such fraudulent conduct by his or her agents or employees.
‘For many middle class New Yorkers, their life savings is in their home,’ says Schneiderman. ‘To take away people's homes under fraudulent circumstances is a crime deserving of jail time. By treating foreclosure fraud as the serious crime that it is, we can deter future abuse and spare untold numbers of families the trauma of wrongful foreclosure. This legislation will ensure that employees involved in these fraudulent and abusive practices, and their supervisors who allow the misconduct to continue, will be held accountable for their crimes.’