Office of Justice Programs (OJP)

Prince George’s County State Attorney’s Office: Foreclosure Mortgage Fraud Initiative

BJA Program(s): Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program
State(s): MD

Grantee Agency: See below

Grant Amount/Year(s): FY 2006/$50,586

About the Program:

Since the national foreclosure crisis began in 2007, Maryland has been at the forefront of efforts to combat the crisis and preserve homeownership. Through a package of new laws and regulations, resources for housing counselors and recruitment of pro bono lawyers, extensive outreach and other efforts, Governor O'Malley has aggressively worked to protect Maryland's homeowners. In September 2008, through the Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) program, the Prince George's County State's Attorney's Office received a grant from GOCCP to launch a Foreclosure and Mortgage Fraud Initiative. Consisting of three Assistant State's Attorneys and an investigator, the unit identifies, investigates, and prosecutes individuals and entities involved with foreclosure and mortgage-related fraud.

Program Successes/Effect on the Community:

The unit successfully prosecuted 26 cases and has been recognized statewide for its work.

The program also educates and trains housing counselors and works to increase general community awareness of mortgage fraud problems and options that are available.

In 2009, foreclosure filings were reported on more than 2.8 million U.S. properties, a 21% increase in total properties from 2008 and a 120% increase in total properties from 2007, according to realtytrac.com. Maryland has the 5th highest amount of foreclosures in the nation. Fraudsters have taken advantage of stressed homeowners on the verge of disaster. Mortgage fraud, a perennial problem during boom times, becomes a burgeoning dilemma when the bottom drops out. "A significant percentage of foreclosures are related to fraud and criminal activity," said Governor Martin O'Malley. "Not only are innocent people being preyed upon and losing their homes, but the indirect costs attributed to increases in crime arising from vacant, abandoned and rundown buildings is enormous." Initiatives like Foreclosure Mortgage Fraud help to decrease property crime and achieve safe communities.

Learn More:
To learn more about the program, please contact:
Doyle Niemann
Assistant State's Attorney
Prince George's County State's Attorney's Office
Phone: 240-606-1298

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