Thursday, August 18, 2011
California Attorney General Kamala Harris announced that the state has broken up a major mortgage fraud ring. The Department of Justice is suing more than a dozen people, including lawyers and law firms that defrauded thousands of homeowners in at least 17 states.
The group contacted people facing foreclosure and promised them relief if they joined a lawsuit against their lender. The homeowners were charged four to ten thousand dollars to participate.
"What we know is that after paying this money, the homeowners then, of course, believed that they had legal representation and would call their lawyer to ask, 'how's my case coming along?' And those calls went unreturned," Harris said.
Harris said the lawyers and others accused of taking part in the fraud have had their offices raided and their assets frozen.
The suit seeks fines, penalties, damages and restitution for the victims - possibly in the tens of millions of dollars.