LANSING - Attorney
General Bill Schuette today announced his support for proposed legislative
reforms intended to strengthen the hand of prosecutors and law enforcement to
combat mortgage fraud. Schuette joins State Senator James Marleau (R-Lake
Orion), Secretary of State Ruth Johnson and Oakland County Register of Deeds
Bill Bullard, who came together this morning to support legislative reforms in
light of recent allegations of fraudulent mortgage documents filed in Michigan.
homeowners deserve every possible legal protection against the devastating
effects of mortgage fraud," said Schuette. "I welcome reforms that will give
prosecutors and law enforcement the tools they need to crack down on mortgage
fraud and protect homeowners."
package of bills introduced in the Michigan Senate will change Michigan law to
better confront the devastating affects of mortgage fraud, including:
Bill 252, sponsored by Senator James Marleau (R-Rochester), which increases the
penalty for violations of the notary act when a document affects interest in
real estate from a misdemeanor to a four year felony;
Bill 253, sponsored by Senator John Gleason (D-Flushing), which amends
sentencing guidelines to reflect the new felony penalty for notary violations
related to real estate;
Bills 249 and 250, sponsored by Senator Darwin Booher (R-Evart), which increase
the penalties for the crime of false pretenses (fraud) over $20,000;
Bill 251, sponsored by Senator Mike Nofs (R-Battle Creek), which increases the
statute of limitations from six to ten years for crimes related to real property
transactions. This will allow extra time for investigators, especially in cases
when the crime is not revealed until years after the transaction is completed;
Bills 43 and 44, sponsored by Senator Tupac Hunter (D-Detroit), which define the
specific crime of "Mortgage Fraud," giving prosecutors a more precise tool to
Attorney General's office has played an aggressive role in prosecuting
individuals and companies for mortgage-related crimes cross the state.
Schuette has spoken with registers of deeds across the state and
has initiated an investigation in response to their concerns that thousands of
forged mortgage documents were filed in Michigan during the current foreclosure
crisis. Schuette is also working with fellow attorneys general in a national
workgroup examining mortgage lending practices, including the robo-signing issue
and consumer protection concerns.
reminds Michigan homeowners that citizens do not need to pay to speak with their
lender or servicer, or to obtain outside assistance with foreclosure issues.
Free local assistance with foreclosure issues can be found by calling the
Michigan State Housing Development Authority at (866) 946-7432.
Schuette noted that Michigan's Credit Services Protection Act prohibits the
charging of upfront fees for mortgage services. Schuette urges any consumers
who paid upfront fees to an individual or mortgage modification company for
services that were not provided to file a consumer complaint online with the
Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division online at