Industry NewsMortgage

FBI gets firepower to fight mortgage fraud

Congress signs off on plan for 50 nationwide task forces

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Congress has passed legislation intended to double the number of FBI mortgage fraud task forces and to close legal loopholes that have prevented federal prosecutors from filing fraud and money laundering charges against many mortgage lenders.In a 338-52 vote, the House of Representatives this week signed off on Senate Bill 386, the Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act of 2009. All votes against the bill were cast by Republicans. The Senate passed S 386 April 28 in a 92-4 vote.The bill will allow the FBI to ramp up investigations of mortgage and financial fraud, providing $75 million for the bureau to hire 190 additional special agents and more than 200 professional staff and forensic analysts. Lawmakers expect the FBI to double the number of mortgage fraud task forces nationwide, from 26 to more than 50.The U.S. Attorney's Office will get $50 million to staff the FBI's mortgage fraud task forces, and $40 million is earmarked for the Department of Justice's criminal, civil and tax divisio...