Mortgage fraud crackdown signed

LANSING –-Legislation to help stop mortgage fraud and punish offenders was signed into law by the governor on Thursday, said Sen. Darwin Booher, lead sponsor of the package.

“Owning a home is at the heart of the American dream,” said Booher, R-Evart. “During my four decades as a banker in the private sector, I helped many families achieve that dream. Today I am proud to see the governor sign bipartisan measures to help preserve it.”

Public Act 205 creates a crime for mortgage fraud and makes that crime a felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a $500,000 fine.

“Each year, mortgage fraud victimizes many consumers and effects entire communities,” said Booher, chair of the Senate Banking and Financial Institutions Committee.  “These important new laws give law enforcement officials the tools necessary to combat mortgage fraud in Michigan and stop criminals from taking advantage of hardworking families for personal gain.”

Public Acts 201 and 202, sponsored by Booher, increase the penalties for forging real property deeds or obtaining real property by false pretenses and enact thresholds to punish offenders more severely based on the amount of money they obtained.

The entire package, Public Acts 201-208, also include increasing the statute of limitations for crimes involving real property transactions to 10 years; enacting new elements for counterfeiting or forging real estate deeds and related documents including a sentence of up to 14 years in prison; and quadrupling the penalty for violating the notary public law to four years in prison.

The legislation was supported by Attorney General Bill Schuette, Secretary of State Ruth Johnson and industry groups, including the Michigan Bankers Association, Michigan Credit Union League and the Prosecuting Attorneys Association of Michigan.

Editor’s Note: A print-quality photograph of Booher at the governor’s bill signing is available by clicking on the image or by visiting the senator’s photowire at:

www.senate.michigan.gov/senators/photowire.asp?District=35