The U.S. government has announced the results of its year-long Distressed Homeowner Initiative: 530 criminal defendants charged, including 172 executives, have been charged in 285 federal criminal indictments or informations filed in U.S. District Courts across the country. According to the government, the cases involved more than 73,000 homeowner victims who lost an estimated total of more than $1 billion.
For a 12-month period beginning Oct. 1, 2011, the Distressed Homeowner Initiative focused on fraud targeting homeowners, including foreclosure rescue schemes that take advantage of homeowners who have fallen behind on their mortgage payments. Other 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.Â
The initiative included federal criminal prosecutions brought by various U.S. Attorneys' offices and the U.S. Department of Justice's Criminal and Civil Divisions, civil enforcement cases filed by the Department of Justice's U.S. Trustee Program, the Federal Trade Commission and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, along with criminal and civil cases brought by state attorneys general. Participating federal agencies included the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Office of Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Federal Housing Finance Agency's Office of Inspector General, the Office of the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, the Internal Revenue Service, U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the U.S. Secret Service.
‘These comprehensive efforts represent an historic, government-wide commitment to eradicating mortgage fraud and related offenses,’ says U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. ‘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.’