Nofs bill to combat mortgage fraud sent to governor

LANSING –- Legislation sponsored by Sen. Mike Nofs was sent to the governor on Wednesday by the Michigan Senate as part of a package to help combat mortgage fraud and punish offenders.

“Mortgage fraud is a crime that robs many innocent Michigan families of realizing the American dream of homeownership,” said Nofs, R-Battle Creek. “Michigan families deserve protection against this devastating crime that undermines the faith in our financial system and drives down property values. When signed into law, my bill and the entire bipartisan package will help protect consumers and empower law enforcement officials to investigate, prosecute and punish mortgage fraud offenders.”

Nofs’ measure, Senate Bill 251, would extend the statute of limitations for bringing an indictment for mortgage fraud from 6 to 10 years.

“I sponsored this reform to give fairness to victimized homeowners and allow for proper punishment for criminal offenders,” said Nofs, vice chair of the Senate Banking and Financial Institutions Committee. “Unfortunately, mortgage fraud can often take a long time to come to light. Offenders should not be able to escape justice due to it being too late to prosecute by the time their victim discovers and reports the crime. My reform will expand the timeframe to solve this problem and give law enforcement more time to investigate.”

The eight-bill package would classify mortgage fraud as a felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a $500,000 fine. It includes reforms to increase the penalties for fraudulent activities such as counterfeiting or forging real estate deeds and violating the notary public law.

Senate Bills 43 and 249-252 now head to the governor. House Bills 4462, 4478 and 4492 have been sent back to the House to be enrolled and sent to the governor.