LOS ANGELES (AP) -- The attorneys general in California and Nevada are partnering in investigations into the mortgage meltdown that crippled both states.
California Attorney General Kamala Harris and her Nevada counterpart Catherine Cortez Masto said Tuesday they will combine resources and share information about mortgage fraud probes each launched.
“I am pleased to join forces with General Harris to fight against fraudulent mortgage and foreclosure practices that continue to devastate lives, homes, and the economy in Nevada and California,” said Masto. “This strong partnership will allow our states to make an even more concerted effort to hold fraud perpetrators accountable and ensure law-abiding homeowners receive justice.”
Nevada has the nation's highest foreclosure rate while California ranks second.
Harris recently subpoenaed mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, looking into lending practices.
Masto has indicted two Southern California title officers for allegedly running a so-called "robo-signing" scheme to sign and file thousands of fraudulent foreclosure documents in Las Vegas.
Harris announced in September that California would not agree to a planned 50-state settlement over foreclosure abuses that federal officials and other state attorneys general are negotiating with major U.S. banks.
In 2007, Masto formed the Nevada Mortgage Fraud Strike Force that launched a wide series of investigations and litigation into areas including violations of the law related to mortgage lending, servicing, and foreclosure practices and the creation, rating, marketing, sale, and management of mortgage backed securities.
The Nevada Mortgage Fraud Strike Force has taken action against predatory “mortgage rescue” companies and individuals claiming to offer services to stop foreclosures. Last month, the Strike Force announced the indictments of Gerri Sheppard and Gary Trafford, who led a massive robo-signing scheme which resulted in the filing of tens of thousands of fraudulent documents. Nevada is also suing Bank of America and its subsidiaries, including Countrywide, for violations of a Consent Judgment for mortgage servicing and mortgage origination irregularities (Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.) APNP-12-06-11 1251PST