Democrats demand meeting with Holder

Lauren Schneiderman

Three congressional Democrats have requested a meeting with Attorney General Eric Holder to discuss the findings of an internal report that concluded his agency has not increased efforts to investigate mortgage fraud. 

Reps. Elijah Cummings (Md.) and Maxine Waters (Calif.), and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) sent a letter on Monday to Holder asking him to identify actions that will be taken to crack down on fraudulent mortgage practices.

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Last week, the Justice Department's inspector general released a report finding that the agency had not prioritized the investigation of mortgage fraud and has reported inaccurate statistics regarding the breadth of its efforts in prosecuting cases. 

“This report calls into question the department’s commitment to investigate and prosecute crimes such as predatory lending, loan modification scams and abusive mortgage servicing practices,” the lawmakers wrote.

“We request a meeting to review the inspector general’s findings and to understand the steps that will be taken to ensure that the department’s efforts to identify and prosecute those responsible for fraudulent mortgage practices are equal to the harms such crimes have caused our constituents.”

Nearly $200 million was appropriated to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) between 2009 and 2011 to investigate mortgage fraud.

But the report's findings show that the issue remained a low priority.

The Justice Department pushed back against the findings, arguing that the report contradicted several of its conclusions.

For example, the agency said that convictions rose every year and doubled between 2009 and 2011, increasing to 1,087 from 555, and that the department adequately used the additional funding from Congress to root out mortgage abuses.