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Lawmakers Target Mortgage Fraud

January 22nd, 2008 by flanews

Florida ranks second only to California in the number of homes in foreclosure. This afternoon, the state attorney general filed a lawsuit against a South Florida based company, National Foreclosure Management, that is accused of defrauding 80 homeowners out of $1.7 million in equity. As Chris Casquejo tells, lawmakers are promising to get tough on mortgage fraud.

Hear it here: Lawmakers Target Mortgage Fraud

Florida had 245,000 homes in foreclosure during 2007. Attorney Marc Taps represents about 30 homeowners in mortgage fraud cases in North Florida. He says dishonest companies charge sky-high consulting fees, then provide little or nothing in return to homeowners who turn to them as a last resort. One 76-year-old man got scammed in a practice called equity skimming.

They got an inflated appraisal of $180,000 in a home that no one would pay that much for,” Taps said. “They closed this loan at McDonalds.

The FBI ranks Florida as one of the top 10 mortgage fraud hotspots in the nation. State leaders say the problem is reaching crisis levels in the Miami and Tampa areas.

Two lawmakers are sponsoring legislation that would protect homeowners when they deal with foreclosure rescue companies.

Under the proposal, homeowners would have 5 days to cancel any agreements. They have no grace period now.

They get all their information over the phone, collect their money,” said Rep. Clay Ford, a Republican from Gulf Breeze. “And then theyll call the loan company, try to negotiate with them. If they cant, fine. The homeowners still lost 25 hundred in consulting fees.

14 states already have similar mortgage fraud laws in place, another 5 are considering legislation.

Posted in Legislature, McCollum, State News | 11 Comments »

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