Concentrated lobbying effort by Attorney General Kroger delivers third federal grant, funding a new effort to help Oregonians stay in their homes
Today, Attorney General John Kroger won a federal grant to fund a new aggressive program to prosecute mortgage fraud. The grant is part of a larger effort by the Department of Justice to help Oregonians stay in their homes.
"When the economy worsens, and people are threatened with losing their homes, they often get desperate, which puts them at extreme risk for fraud," said Attorney General Kroger. "This is when people need our help the most, and I am excited to announce that we now have the tools we need to hold mortgage scammers accountable."
The grant funds one new prosecutor and one new investigator to coordinate the Department of Justice actions around mortgage fraud. Fighting mortgage fraud is a top priority of the Attorney General. Since taking office, the Oregon Department of Justice has opened nearly a dozen mortgage fraud and foreclosure scam investigations, including several criminal cases. This grant will allow the Department to expand its efforts, open more cases and protect more homeowners.
This mortgage fraud grant is part of a larger effort by the Oregon Department of Justice to win federal stimulus funding for Attorney General Kroger's top priorities. In addition to this federal grant, the Department has recently won grants for a new drug strike force and funding to save the Internet Crimes Against Children program, which funds prosecutors and investigators to arrest and convict child sex predators.
Attorney General Kroger twice visited United States Department of Justice staff in Washington D.C. to personally lobby for more federal funding. Attorney General Kroger also facilitated a joint local effort with law enforcement across the state to submit as many applications as possible for federal stimulus funding for improved public safety and law enforcement.
In addition to the grant award today, the Oregon Department of Justice is launching a new consumer education program to help consumers better protect themselves from fraud and stay in their homes. The program is a part of a larger effort by the Department of Justice, the legislature and consumer groups to fight foreclosure and is a product of SB 628, a bill championed by Sen. Suzanne Bonamici (D-Portland) and passed in the 2009 Legislative Session.
As part of the program, the Oregon Department of Justice, is partnering with other state agencies, to sponsor free Home Ownership Preservation Events around the state. The first event is Saturday, October 17, 2009 in Medford. These events will allow consumers to get answers from government agencies, non-profit counselors, lawyers, and lenders about refinancing or modifying loans; find out about new government housing programs; and get educated on avoiding mortgage and foreclosure rescue scams. For more information call 541-774-4305. The bill also helps borrowers get to mediation programs by encouraging banks to enter into arbitration and modify unaffordable home loans. Funding for mediation comes from the Department of Justice's previous settlements exposing mortgage fraud.
Attorney General John Kroger leads the Oregon Department of Justice. The Department's mission is to fight crime and fraud, protect the environment, improve child welfare, and defend the rights of all Oregonians.
Tony Green, (503) 378-6002 firstname.lastname@example.org