Saving Homes and Fighting Fraud
May 20, 2009
This afternoon, the President signed two bills the House passed this week – the Helping Families Save Their Homes Act and the Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act.
The Helping Families Save Their Homes Act(S.896) builds on the President's housing initiative, to provide significant incentives to lenders, servicers, and homeowners to work together to modify loans and to avoid foreclosures, which cost families their homes every 13 seconds in America. The initial bill passed in the House on March 5th, and passed last week in the Senate. Unfortunately, due to Senate opposition, the bill does not include bankruptcy provisions included in the House bill that encourage lenders to modify loans for families in danger of losing their homes. House Democrats will continue to fight for these provisions to allow judges in the court of last resort to modify the terms of mortgage loans for families–just as they currently do for investors in vacation homes, real estate speculators, and corporations. Learn more>>
The Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act(S.386) fights mortgage and corporate fraud and creates a commission to investigate the cause of the financial crisis. This bill gives the Justice Department additional tools to fight fraud in the use of TARP and recovery funds, including extending federal fraud laws (including false statements, mail and wire fraud, and financial institution fraud) to apply to mortgage lending businesses, making it a federal crime for government contractors to defraud the government of funds, nearly doubling the FBI's ‘Mortgage, Financial Fraud Program’, and increasing support for prosecution of fraud cases. In addition, the bill establishes an outside commission to investigate the causes of the current financial and economic crisis in the United States — similar to the investigation of the Pecora congressional subcommittee that examined the Stock Market Crash of 1929. This outside bipartisan commission will produce a detailed and clear-eyed examination of what went wrong by the end of 2010. Learn more>>