HUD Audits Reveal Mortgage Fraud. Borrowers say: Told you so! Now What?

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Was it so long ago that JPMorgan Chase admitted there were problems with military mortgage lending practices after more than a dozen soldiers and their families were evicted and subjected to foreclosure?

A HUD (Housing and Urban Development) audit has placed Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citigroup and Ally Financial under the microscope of the U.S. Government.  Now borrowers are given a glimmer of hope as they wait to hear what actions will taken to repay the victims predatory lending and illegal mortgage and foreclosure practices.

More news bubbles up to the surface that indicates mortgage woes may be more widespread than some government officials wanted to believe. 


According to the Huffington Post:

 "The audits accuse the five major lenders of violating the False Claims Act, a Civil War-era law crafted as a weapon against firms that swindle the government.

 The internal watchdog office at HUD referred its findings to the Department of Justice, which must now decide whether to file charges...

The resulting reports read like veritable indictments of major lenders, the sources said. State officials are now wielding the documents as negotiating props in their ongoing talks with mortgage companies aimed at forcing them to agree to pay fines to resolve allegations of routine violations in their handling of foreclosures."

What is the False Claims Act?

Sometimes referred to as the Lincoln Law this act has multiple provisions.

"The most commonly used of these provisions are the first and second, prohibiting the presentation of false claims to the government and making false records to get a false claim paid. By far the most frequent cases involve situations in which a defendant--usually a corporation but on occasion an individual--overcharges the federal government for goods or services. Other typical cases entail failure to test a product as required by the rigorous government specifications or selling defective products."

Amendments to the act in 1943 and 1986 served to curtail misuse of public funds by a variety of business sectors. Revisions would be enacted in both 2009 and 2010. This law has been used to clear away abuse issues involving defense contracts, public housing, and health care expenses.

Will Charges Ultimately Be Filed?

The Department of Justice has 60 days from receiving the documentation to determine if charges will be filed. In many cases an extension can be filed in such cases. What that means in real time is any decision could be delayed into 2012. The wheels of justice can move slowly, but at least we know what to expect. This could be on a fast track, but if history is any indication it may be a while before any decision is made.

What We Know

From the Huffington Post report we understand that five of the largest mortgage companies in the U.S. are suspected of violating the law and cheating taxpayers by presenting the Federal Housing Administration with false claims: They filed for federal reimbursement on foreclosed homes that sold for less than the outstanding loan balance using defective and faulty documents. .

The audits that  took place in February and March have now been turned over to the Department of Justice who will determine whether or not to bring charges.for alleged violations. Some banks are cooperating with officials --and some are not.

The following is a list of seven provisions within the False Claims Act that would have been used in developing a case.

   1. Knowingly presenting, or causing to be presented a false claim for payment or approval;

   2. Knowingly making, using, or causing to be made or used, a false record or statement material to a false or fraudulent claim;

   3. Conspiring to commit any violation of the False Claims Act;

   4. Falsely certifying the type or amount of property to be used by the Government;

   5. Certifying receipt of property on a document without completely knowing that the information is true;

   6. Knowingly buying Government property from an unauthorized officer of the Government, and;

   7. Knowingly making, using, or causing to be made or used a false record to avoid, or decrease an obligation to pay or transmit property to the Government.

Time will tell where this news takes us. The Department of Justice will be reviewing the information, and many homeowners will be holding out hope that their rights will be finally be upheld --and that those responsible for stealing their home and American dream out from under them -held accountable.

Click here to find much more info about: mortgage servicing complaints 

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