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Homeownership Preservation: Federal Efforts to Combat Foreclosure Rescue Schemes Are Under Way, but Improved Planning Elements Could Enhance Progress

NCJ Number
Date Published
July 2010
43 pages
This report to Congress by the Government Accountability Office examined Federal efforts to combat foreclosure rescue schemes.
This investigation found that foreclosure rescue schemes can take several forms, with the most common being one where companies/individuals charge a fee for services not rendered. It was reported that the perpetrators of these schemes were likely to be former mortgage industry employees, professional scam artists, and unethical attorneys. Since a majority of these schemes are conducted on the Internet or across State lines, law enforcement officials indicated that these schemes are difficult to combat. As a result of concerns raised by officials regarding foreclosure rescue schemes, the U.S. General Accountability Office (GAO) examined what is known about these schemes, the status and scope of what is known about the Federal Government's efforts to combat these schemes, and the factors that may affect whether Federal efforts will succeed in combating these schemes. Information for this report was obtained from representatives from four Federal agencies, representatives from five States with high foreclosure numbers, and representatives from national nonprofit organizations and other associations that are actively engaged in addressing this problem. The information was obtained between September 2009 and July 2010. The investigation was conducted in response to the Obama Administration's establishment of the Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force, which was set up to examine the problem of foreclosure rescue and loan modification schemes. Recommendations for executive action are included in the report. Appendixes, table, and figures