As recent news reports have indicated and justice and community representatives have reported, the number of vacant and abandoned properties in communities across the U.S. has increased, and mortgage fraud and foreclosures are reported to play a key role in the issue. One estimate gives a conservative figure of $218 billion in losses in 2007 as a direct result of mortgage fraud on subprime loans. Vacant and abandoned properties often become unsightly, diminish the property values of surrounding homes and communities, and invite disorder and criminal activity into these communities. Mitigating the effects of these problems, reducing the frequency of these occurrences, and restoring these properties to productive use can play a significant role in reducing and preventing neighborhood crime. BJA convened a working group of representatives from communities in different regions of the country to examine crime as both a cause and result of foreclosures. A summary report from the working group is forthcoming. Some of the major themes of the working group discussions were:
Read the Mortgage Fraud Fact Sheet.
BJA would like to hear from local and state officials who have developed strategies and successful operations for addressing the growth of problem vacant properties or mortgage fraud. Likewise, we want to hear from jurisdictions that are developing their strategies and would like more information. Please contact us.
Related Information:Working Group Agenda"Foreclosures and Crime: A Geographical Perspective" (Geography and Public Safety Newsletter, October 2008)Mortgage Fraud in Florida: An Overview (Florida Police Chief, Autumn 2008)Podcast on Foreclosures and Mortgage Fraud with Ann Fulmer, Vice President, Interthinx, and Robert V. Wolf, Director of Communications, Center for Court Innovation
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BJA is offering training and technical assistance (TTA) for state and local agencies and organizations that need help in their efforts to prevent, investigate and prosecute mortgage fraud and crimes associated with vacant properties. BJA has established a consortium of national TTA providers with the expertise to respond to a variety of training and technical assistance needs. The consortium consists of the National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC), the National District Attorneys Association (NDAA), the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C), and the St. Petersburg College Center for Public Safety Innovation (CPSI). Available TTA resources include the following:
To request help with training and technical assistance, go to www.nw3c.org/mortgagefraud/.
National Fraud Information Center
National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC)
U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ): Fraud Section
NCJRS: Fraud Awareness Special Feature
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Mortgage Fraud Virtual ConferenceOn April 10, 2013, BJA and OVC partnered with the National Crime Prevention Council to present the Mortgage Fraud: Protecting Homeowners, Empowering Victims virtual conference. See the conference page to access resources and presentation information.
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