United States Attorney General Eric Holder, Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) Director Robert S. Mueller III, U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) Inspector General (HUD-OIG) Kenneth M. Donohue, and additional members of the Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force have announced the results of a nationwide takedown, Operation Stolen Dreams, which targeted mortgage fraudsters throughout the country and is the largest collective enforcement effort ever brought to bear in confronting mortgage fraud.
The sweep was organized by President Obama's interagency Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force, which was established to lead an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. Starting on March 1, to date Operation Stolen Dreams has involved 1,215 criminal defendants nationwide, including 485 arrests, who are allegedly responsible for more than $2.3 billion in losses. Additionally, to date the operation has resulted in 191 civil enforcement actions which have resulted in the recovery of more than $147 million.
"Mortgage fraud ruins lives, destroys families and devastates whole communities, so attacking the problem from every possible direction is vital," said Attorney General Holder. "We will use every tool available to investigate, prosecute and prevent mortgage fraud, and we will not rest until anyone preying on vulnerable American homeowners is brought to justice."
"From home buyers to lenders, mortgage fraud has had a resounding impact on the nation's economy," said FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III. "Those who prey on the housing market should know that hundreds of FBI agents on task forces and their law enforcement partners are tracking down your schemes and you will be brought to justice."
"The last several years have seen enormous and damaging developments in the mortgage and housing markets, and the government has stepped in to bolster unstable marketplaces and devastated communities," said Inspector General Donohue. "The HUD-OIG, in partnership with other agencies, is deeply committed to ensuring that scarce resources are not diverted to those who seek to enrich themselves at the expense of those who so desperately need assistance today."
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 operation was conducted in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Justice—including the FBI, U.S. Attorneys Offices, the U.S. Trustee Program and other components—as well as HUD, the Department of the Treasury, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the Internal Revenue Service, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the U.S. Secret Service, the National Association of Attorneys General and the National District Attorneys Association.
The President's Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force includes representatives from a broad range of federal agencies, regulatory authorities, inspectors general, and state and local law enforcement who, working together, bring to bear a powerful array of criminal and civil enforcement resources. The task force is working to improve efforts across the federal executive branch, and with state and local partners, to investigate and prosecute significant financial crimes, ensure just and effective punishment for those who perpetrate financial crimes, combat discrimination in the lending and financial markets, and recover proceeds for victims of financial crimes.
For more information on the task force, visit StopFraud.gov.