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New York Among Few States Criminally Prosecuting Banks For Mortgage Fraud

There has been a constant cry from those affected by the real estate mess in this country: Why haven’t more banks and bank officials been held accountable for the many New York foreclosures that have caused our economy to crumble?

The news media has spent a lot of time during the last several years documenting the collapse of the real estate market. Some have found that bank officials specifically directed workers to create false documents, backdate them in order to meet deadlines for foreclosure and robo-sign documents in order to move them quickly through the court system to steal away peoples’ homes.
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Yet, even though this fraud has been uncovered from Long Island to Los Angeles, few criminal actions have been taken against the people who clearly have violated homeowners’ rights with these unlawful actions. A mortgage may seem like some to be a simple process, but today it likely appears much more complex.

The fabled American Dream included owning a house and that was expected by many people if they were to be seen as successful in life. Yet, now, given the economic climate in our country, some have found that signing the paperwork of home loan to have much more significance.

For those considering owning a home these days, it’s best to review all the relevant documents carefully. Also consider consulting with an experienced real estate lawyer to ensure that there are no hidden clauses or fees that could potentially hinder you in the future. Considering the problems many Americans have faced related to foreclosure in the last few years, it may be prudent to take all necessary precautions before signing on the dotted line.

New York’s Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has been one of a handful of attorneys general nationwide who have fought the banks and who have decided against settling their lawsuits against the major banks of this nation. While most of the rest of the states are happy to get some quick cash in exchange for not filing any future lawsuits and without any significant information being released about how this happened in the first place, this state’s top prosecutor has vowed to continue fighting.

In the most recent news, Reuters reports that Schneiderman has teamed up with the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s inspector general to investigate how the banks sold mortgages to investors before the real estate market collapsed.

Banks routinely securitized mortgages and sold them as groups to investors. But in many cases, officials have alleged, banks committed fraud when they underwrote mortgage debt. The investors ended up with bad investments.

In September, the FHFA, the regulator for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, sued 17 banks and financial institutions over about $200 billion in losses of subprime bonds. The lawsuits, Reuters states, are an attempt to figure out who is at fault for the financial crisis that started in real estate, moved to construction and now has affected every area of business.

Schneiderman has been among the chief opponents of the $25 billion settlement proposed by other states with major banks over the foreclosure tactics they used to take away people’s houses. The settlement wouldn’t produce a full investigation of how we got into the situation we’re in. The settlement also wouldn’t affect loans owned by Fannie and Freddie.

The Law Offices of Ira S. Newman provides mortgage foreclosure defense in New York City, Long Island, Great Neck and throughout the area. Call 516-487-7375 or contact us through the website.

More Blog Entries:

New York Homeowners Need Experienced Law Firm When Dealing with Mortgages, Foreclosure: July 31, 2011
Additional Resources:

New York, FHFA watchdog join on mortgage probe, by Karen Freifeld and Aruna Viswanatha, Reuters