Task Force Outlines Fraud Sweep Results

onwide sweep of alleged mortgage fraudsters has resulted in the arrest of nearly 500 people since its March 1 start date, federal officials reported Thursday. Operation Stolen Dreams, an anti-fraud effort coordinated by President Obama's interagency Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force, has involved 1,215 criminal defendants who are allegedly responsible for more than $2.3 billion in losses, according to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). The DOJ says the operation has led to 191 civil enforcement actions that have resulted in the recovery of more than $147 million. ‘The staggering totals from this sweep highlight the mortgage fraud trends we are seeing around the country,’ Attorney General [link=http://www.justice.gov/ag/speeches/2010/ag-speech-100617.html]Eric Holder told reporters[/link] at a press conference Thursday. ‘We have seen mortgage fraud take on all shapes and sizes – from schemes that ensnared the elderly to fraudsters who targeted immigrant communities. We have seen cases that have resulted in dozens of foreclosures and millions in losses, as well as fraudsters who have bankrupted entire companies and national lenders who were not playing by the rules.’ The results of Operation Stolen Dreams were announced a day after [link=http://mortgageorb.com/e107_plugins/content/content.php?content.6103]Lee Bentley Farkas[/link], former chairman of Taylor, Bean & Whitaker (TBW), was arrested in connection to his alleged role in a $1.9 billion fraud scheme, which authorities say contributed to the closing of TBW and Colonial Bank last year. The operation was conducted in conjunction with the DOJ, Treasury Department and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, among other agencies. Unlike previous mortgage fraud sweeps, Operation Stolen Dreams focused not only on federal criminal cases, but also on civil enforcement, recovering money for victims and increasing cooperation with state and local partners, the DOJ says. The DOJ says it has requested $178 million for its fiscal-year 2011 budget to combat mortgage fraud – an increase of over $18.4 million. The Federal Bureau of Investigation has more than 3,000 pending mortgage fraud cases, which is almost double the number of cases in fiscal-yea


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