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August 24, 2009
McKenna co-chairs effort to unite state and federal authorities against mortgage scams

New task force zeros in on businesses that deceive or discriminate

OLYMPIA – Mortgage scammers and others seeking to prey on homeowners had better watch their backs. Attorney General Rob McKenna and Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller are co-chairing a new State-Federal Task Force on Mortgage Enforcement which is an unprecedented partnership to target fraudsters.

The Task Force is dedicated to enforcing both fair business practices and civil rights. So far, additional members include representatives of the U.S. Department of Justice, Department of Treasury, Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Federal Trade Commission and the attorneys general of Arizona, California, Connecticut, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas Nevada,  New Jersey, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio and Texas. {Updated 8/27/09}

“Scammers and opportunists need to know that they’re in the crosshairs of a tough, well-armed posse with a presence in every state,” McKenna said.

McKenna said that by combining their enforcement powers and expertise, state and federal authorities are in a stronger position than ever before to take on equity skimmers, foreclosure rescuer schemers, straw purchasers and unethical lenders who deceive or discriminate.

McKenna said the task force grew from the July 15 meeting in Washington, DC, between several state attorneys general and the U.S. Justice and Treasury departments focused on mortgage enforcement. The FBI, FTC and HUD were also represented at the meeting by high-ranking officials. McKenna and Assistant Attorney General Dave Huey participated in that discussion, just one day after the Washington Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division announced five new cases concerning foreclosure rescuers and loan modification businesses.

The Washington State Attorney General’s Office also plays a leading role in the State Foreclosure Prevention Working Group, a coalition of state attorneys general and state banking regulators formed to identify strategies to prevent unnecessary foreclosures.

And McKenna is a member of the Attorneys General and State Banking Regulators’ Federal Preemption Working Group. Members are working with the U.S. Comptroller of the Currency to protect the states' authority to investigate financial institutions in order to help protect consumers and businesses from abusive practices.

For more information about how the Washington Attorney General’s Office is working to protect homeowners, visit the office’s Web site at

Media Contact: Kristin Alexander, Media Relations Manager – Seattle, (206) 464-6432,


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