Inclusion of Foreclosure Fraud in State Statute Passes the Senate

ATLANTA (March 22, 2012) – Sen. Jesse Stone (R-Waynesboro) carried HB 237 for the Attorney General Sam Olens in the Senate on Wednesday, where it received overwhelming support.  This legislation will bring foreclosures under the residential mortgage fraud statute.

“This legislation corrects an oversight in existing law,” said Sen. Stone.  “Fraud is fraud, no matter when the crime is committed during the lending process.  HB 237 will extend the ability to prosecute this crime when it occurs at the back end of a loan, during the foreclosure process.”

There is no current statute on foreclosure fraud, and the language in the mortgage fraud statute is not sufficient enough for prosecuting foreclosure fraud.  HB 237 will amend the statute to include foreclosure fraud.

Georgia suffers from one of the highest foreclosure rates since the beginning of the economic recession.  Based on February numbers from Realty Trac, there are more than 12,000 properties with foreclosure filings in Georgia.  Compared nationally, one in every 331 Georgia home is under foreclosure compared to one in every 637 across the U.S.

Recently, Georgia was part of a settlement against the nation’s five largest mortgage providers for their deceptive foreclosure practices.  The state received $815 million as part of the $25 billion settlement.  The settlement is one example of how rampant and out-of-control foreclosure fraud has become across the nation and in Georgia.  HB 237 will stem the problem at its root by including foreclosure fraud within the mortgage fraud statute so that this crime can be prosecuted before it becomes another national lawsuit.

For Immediate Release:
March 22, 2012

Natalie Dale, Director
Kate Greer, Broadcast Specialist