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Report of the Texas Residential Mortgage Fraud Task Force

NCJ Number
Date Published
18 pages
This report addresses the activities, findings, and actions of the Texas Residential Mortgage Fraud Task Force, which was established by the Office of the Attorney General in 2007 to foster strategic multijurisdictional partnerships that will improve State, Federal, and local authorities' ability to investigate and prosecute mortgage fraud state-wide.
The first few meetings of the Task Force were used to plan and develop a multi-agency communications network. This network will continue to assist law enforcement agencies across the State. The cooperation enabled by the network has already produced joint State and Federal prosecution of at least one residential mortgage fraud scheme. Among the challenges facing the network of agencies are funding, the need for an established residential mortgage fraud training curriculum, and expansion of the scope of collective inquiries to encompass areas that involve less-traditional environments for mortgage-related fraud. The task Force's examination of the extent and impact of mortgage fraud found that the volume of Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) that describe suspected mortgage loan fraud increased 44 percent over the previous period for the 12 months ending June 30, 2008. All other SARs increased only 9 percent. Because mortgage fraud is increasingly reported in SARs, it deserves more attention from policymakers and law enforcement agencies. At the State level, the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) has emphasized consumer education and assistance. The OAG has also used the civil and criminal courts to counter unlawful foreclosures and other mortgage-related scams. The OAG has brought legal actions to address predatory and deceptive lending, mortgage fraud, and a number of "foreclosure rescue" scams. Criminal indictments have been obtained against a mortgage fraud ring. The details of these cases are presented. Countermeasures against mortgage fraud are also reported for other State agencies whose activities include measures against mortgage fraud.