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The Queens district attorney’s office has seen a major surge in mortgage fraud cases over the last few years, so U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-Forest Hills) was able to secure some federal funding to boost its prosecuting power.
The congressman donated $100,000 to the DA’s Economic Crime Bureau, which has been handling more than 200 mortgage fraud cases a year since 2006. The borough is ranked sixth in the number of fraudulent home loan incidents in the United States and the DA’s office takes each of their cases very seriously, DA Brown said.
“Mortgage fraud is growing by leaps and bounds in Queens,” he said.
The money will be used to pay for at least one additional assistant district attorney for the office and other resources. Weiner said he pushed Congress to provide the additional funding because the subprime mortgage crisis triggered the deep recession.
Too many homeowners were swindled by shady loans and greedy businessmen into getting mortgages they could not afford, and ultimately hundreds of thousands of Queens families lost their homes, according to the congressman.
“We’re not about to take that fraud sitting down,” Weiner said.
Brown said recently there has been an increase in mortgage fraud involving senior citizen victims. The case load has also grown to the point where he had to get other assistant district attorneys from other crime divisions to help.
“The current case level is straining our resources,” he said.
Southeast Queens neighborhoods such as Jamaica, St. Albans and Springfield Gardens lead the state in the number of foreclosures. Several homeowners were victims of mortgage fraud and signed into subprime loans, mortgages that start out with low interests rates but balloon rapidly over a few months.
Weiner said he would continue to find ways where the federal government can provide resources and funding directly to the Queens DA’s office and other borough agencies that fight fraudulent mortgages.
“I am confident that this office will get to the bottom of these cases,” the congressman said.
Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4546.
©2010 Community Newspaper Group
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