June 17, 2010
Remarks Prepared for Delivery by Robert S. Mueller, III Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation Operation Stolen Dreams Press Conference
As the Attorney General noted, mortgage fraud impacts not only those who fall prey to such schemes. Such fraud can make it more difficult to secure a loan. It can result in artificially inflated home values and property taxes.
Foreclosures can cause neighborhoods to deteriorate. And those who live nearby may see the value of their own homes depreciate. And with billions of dollars at stake, mortgage fraud presents a significant risk to our economic stability.
That is why joint operations like this are so important.
This operation represents the largest mortgage fraud initiative to date. In the past three months, together with our federal partners, we have made 485 arrests, from industry insiders to straw buyers. We have obtained 336 convictions, and we have recovered nearly $11 million dollars in seizures.
But there is more work to be done. As the Attorney General said a moment ago, we in the FBI are pursuing more than 3-thousand mortgage fraud cases.
While such an increase might not have been foreseeable just a few years ago, greed is always predictable. And in a down market, it would appear that criminals hope to gain at the expense of homeowners, neighborhoods, and the national economy.
FBI agents and analysts are using intelligence, enhanced surveillance, and undercover operations to identify emerging trends and to find the key players behind large-scale fraud.
And we must continue to work with our federal, state, and local partners, through joint investigations, task forces, and working groups. We must devote the necessary resources to put an end to this kind of fraud.
Together, we can help ensure the integrity of the housing market and keep our communities safe.