Mortgage fraud: Do criminal penalties loom for wrongdoers?

On behalf of The Rollins Law Firm posted in Foreclosure on Wednesday, February 18, 2015.

Millions of Americans might be reasonably empathized with as they continue to struggle with home-related finances in the aftermath of the country's so-called Great Recession of recent years.

In a staggering number of instances, that struggle resulted in a most heavy exaction, namely, the loss of a home through the foreclosure process.

In many of those cases in Mississippi and other states, homeowners might not have had any indications at all that misfortune was about to strike. Indeed, many consumers across the country who ultimately went through the foreclosure process likely never saw bad times coming and were feeling completely fine with their properties and payment histories just a few months prior to the bottom falling out.

As many of our readers certainly recollect, what fueled the housing debacle a few years ago was dramatically falling prices linked to various mortgage lending improprieties. Papers were falsified, values were artificially adjusted, and many homeowners were left flatly in the dark concerning their home value and the storm about to arrive.

In its wake, the effects of the storm are both clear and staggering, with many millions of Americans continuing to deal with their repercussions.

Huge civil penalties have been doled out to major banks that engaged in fraudulent lending activities. As yet, though, criminal convictions for involved individuals have lagged, a fact that has drawn strong rebuke from a wide spectrum of critics.

That could change. As U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder prepares to leave office, he is ensuring that his department's attorneys are taking a strong look at activities linked to mortgage securities cases. He has instructed the Department of Justice to develop criminal cases against individual wrongdoers and pass along that information to his shortly arriving successor at the DOJ.

Incarceration in select cases for defendants in mortgage fraud cases won't financially help homeowners who suffered from that fraud, of course. It can result in a remedy, though, that many people find just and that helps them gain some closure following a painful life experience.

Source: Bloomberg, "Holder asks lawyers to pursue bankers in mortgage fraud," Keri Geiger, Feb. 17, 2015

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