Critical assessment of DOJ’s efforts against mortgage fraud

After the collapse of the housing market in 2009, the U.S. Department of Justice and other agencies coordinated enforcement activites to target mortgage fraud schemes. This week, DOJ’s Office of Inspector General released an “Audit Of The Department Of Justice’s Efforts To Address Mortgage Fraud.” The Washington Post summarizes the report’s conclusions as follows: “When it comes to cracking down on mortgage fraud, the Justice Department isn’t as tough as its repeated public statements suggest, and it even inflated its success in one highly publicized incident, the department’s internal watchdog said Thursday.” One example cited in the Inspector General's report: Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. stated at a press conference in 2012 that the initiative led to 530 criminal defendants being charged, but the actual number was 107. IN addition, according to the audit, “the total estimated losses associated with true Distressed Homeowners cases were $95 million, 91 percent less than the $1 billion reported at” the press conference. The audit concludes with 7 recommendations “to help DOJ improve its understanding, coordination, and reporting of its efforts to address mortgage fraud.”