Assemblyman Thiele Passes Foreclosure Fraud Prevention Act

Legislation targets fraudulent mortgage-foreclosure practices
June 22, 2012
Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr. (I, D, WF-Sag Harbor) announced the Assembly passed legislation he supported that would protect Long Island homeowners from deceitful business practices perpetrated by lenders during a home foreclosure process (A.10629-A). The Foreclosure Fraud Prevention Act of 2012 imposes both misdemeanor and felony-level penalties on banks and lenders who knowingly engage in fraud and on “high managerial agents” of such banks and lenders who fail to take reasonable measures to stop fraudulent conduct by their employees and agents.

“Irresponsible banks and mortgage lenders engaged in fraudulent practices and took advantage of hardworking families,” Assemblyman Thiele said. “Despite the widespread economic destruction caused by their reckless actions, few of those responsible for this crisis were prosecuted. This legislation would correct that injustice and ensure that banks and lenders that engage in fraud and deceit will be held accountable to the many Long Island families who lost their homes because of Wall Street’s greed.”

The Assembly’s bill would create the crime of residential mortgage foreclosure fraud in the second degree, a class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine; this penalty is directed at employees or agents of residential mortgage companies who knowingly prepare and file false documents in a residential foreclosure action.

Additionally, the bill would make residential mortgage foreclosure fraud in the first degree a class E felony, punishable by up to four years in State prison; this penalty is directed at agents who engage in five or more acts of residential mortgage foreclosure fraud or those “high management agents” who know that one or more of his/her employees are engaged in residential mortgage foreclosure fraud and fail to take reasonable steps to stop it.

“It’s time to bring accountability to the mortgage industry and send a message that the days of shady business practices are over,” stated Assemblyman Thiele. “Our families deserve better.”