Nofs sponsors bill to combat mortgage fraud

LANSING –- Sen. Mike Nofs introduced legislation Wednesday as part of a package to help crack down on mortgage fraud and punish offenders.

“Mortgage fraud devastates innocent Michigan families every year and undermines the faith in our financial system,” said Nofs, R-Battle Creek. “We must give law enforcement officials the tools necessary 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.

“This expanded timeframe is necessary because mortgage fraud often doesn't come to light right away and investigating it can take quite a bit of time,” said Nofs, vice chair of the Senate Banking and Financial Institutions Committee.  “Many times by the point the victim discovers and reports the crime, it is already too late to prosecute.  That isn’t fair or just. My bill, and this entire package, will help protect consumers from mortgage fraud and properly punish offenders.”

The nine-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, 44 and 249-253 have been referred to the Senate Banking and Financial Institutions Committee for consideration.  Two other bills, pertaining to forging deeds, are expected to be introduced soon in the House.