“The mortgage fraud crisis is devastating working families in every corner of New York State – it’s upending our economic recovery upstate and downstate,” said Democratic senator from Manhattan said in a statement this morning.
“As Attorney General, I will do everything in my power to protect homeowners from unscrupulous lenders and other predators ripping off hardworking New Yorkers.”
From his press release, Schneiderman’s plan includes:
— Create a team of elite prosecutors to enforce state anti-predatory lending rules and the new mortgage rules to be issued by the new federal Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection. The squad will handle mortgage fraud committed against home-buyers on main street, and also investigate and prosecute complicated and illegal Wall Street mortgage-backed securities schemes that fuel main street mortgage fraud.
— Establish a “Protect Your Home and Neighborhood” Agenda to fight mortgage and housing fraud scams, and secure restitution for victims. The financial crisis has engendered a host of con artists capitalizing on the fears of those in economic distress. Eric will focus on these new schemes.
— Attack the new scourge of “finance fixers” that promise to relieve victims of mortgage fraud with fraudulent financial gimmicks that are often just new versions of the same schemes that were involved in the original mortgage fraud.
— Crack down on brokers and banks that fraudulently trick homebuyers into buying excessive amounts of insurance for their homes. The extra cost of this unneeded insurance adds unwarranted financial stress to the homebuyer while providing no benefit.
— Protect homeowners from home improvement rip-offs: Homeowners throughout the state have found themselves out-of-luck and out-of-pocket when contractors and lenders team up in scams related to lending against the equity of a home for home improvement or repairs. Some scams and unscrupulous practices involve unlicensed contractors, secret kickbacks by the lender to the contractor, “teaser” interest rates, and hidden fees.