Yesterday, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner met with Attorney General Eric Holder, HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan, FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz, FinCEN Director Jim Freis and attorneys general from 12 states to discuss "emerging trends and proactive strategies to combat fraud against consumers in the housing markets as well as best practices to bolster coordination across state and federal agencies." This meeting served as a follow-up to the Obama Administration’s announcement in April of the start of a multi-agency crackdown on foreclosure rescue scams and loan modification fraud. The federal agencies have agreed to coordinate efforts and resources to "maximize targeting and efficiency in fraud investigations." These efforts include alerting financial institutions to emerging schemes, stepping up enforcement actions, and educating consumer to help those in financial trouble avoid being victims of a loan modification or rescue scam.
Secretary Geithner stated, "[a] clear lesson of this financial crisis is that American consumers need better protection against fraud." Echoing these sentiments, Attorney General Holder stated, "[w]orking together, we can send a clear and straightforward message: Those who prey on vulnerable American homeowners cannot hide from the hand of the law. If you perpetrate mortgage fraud, we will find you and we will bring you to justice."
This meeting came on the same day that the FTC announced two new law enforcement actions to crack down on mortgage foreclosure rescue and loan modification scams, bringing to 22 the total number of cases that the FTC has filed since the start of the housing crisis.