Maryland Rep. Cummings Calls for Immediate Freeze of All Foreclosures
Maryland Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, a senior member of the Joint Economic Committee, has sent a letter to Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley and Attorney General Douglas Gansler calling for an immediate 60-day moratorium on foreclosures in Maryland. “Numerous new reports from multiple states suggest major lending institutions may have committed deceptive and fraudulent actions to initiate foreclosure proceedings against potentially hundreds of thousands of homeowners, including signing affidavits and other legal documents in bulk without confirming the accuracy of the information alleged in those documents,” the letter read in part. “At least one executive, at Bank of America in Massachusetts, admitted to this practice saying, ‘I typically don’t read them because of the volume that we sign.’” As a result of practices such as these, families may have been wrongly evicted from properties based on inaccurate or incomplete information. Foreclosed properties may have even been sold to new owners following such proceedings. Rep. Cummings’ letter continues, “Critically, if a foreclosure is conducted on the basis of fraudulent information, the state legal system may unwittingly become complicit in unfairly depriving a citizen of his or her property.” Cummings has consistently been an advocate for the rights of those facing foreclosure and has held four Foreclosure Prevention Seminars for people who are at risk of being foreclosed on. The homeowners are matched with lenders to work out loan modifications to prevent foreclosure. “The foreclosure crisis is unacceptable to me, and we must take action to keep the American Dream from turning into a nightmare for millions of people,” said Rep. Cummings. “I have long said that the question is not whether we will weather this storm, but when the storm is over, who will be living in these homes, and who will work in these jobs that have been lost. “It is stunning to me to find out that so many people in this nation may have been fraudulently deprived of their property, while their hopes and lives were dashed on the rocks of circumstance. We must not allow a single person to be foreclosed on, or to be evicted from their home, until government agencies are absolutely certain that all procedures and laws were adhered to in the foreclosure process.” Rep. Cummings’ letter also noted that, “[T]he homeowner is not the only party who suffers during a foreclosure. Property values of homes surrounding a foreclosed property may decrease and as the appearance of foreclosed property degrades, the values of surrounding properties may be further depressed. Finally, but of no small importance, municipalities that rely on property taxes face a loss in revenue from each foreclosed property.” For more information, visit http://cummings.house.gov.