DENVER – Attorney General John Suthers today convened the first meeting of the Mortgage and Foreclosure Fraud Task Force designed to prevent Colorado consumers from falling victim to what Suthers calls a growing wave of consumer fraud.
“Too many Coloradans are losing their primary financial asset because of the growing industry of mortgage and foreclosure scams,” said Suthers. “This Task Force will help those on the front lines deter these scams and assist the public with complaints.”
The Task Force is comprised of public trustees, district attorneys, law enforcement and county clerk and recorders from across Colorado.
In today’s meeting, the Attorney General charged the Task Force with three agenda items, 1) a public outreach effort to educate susceptible victims, 2) recommendations to encourage multi-jurisdictional cooperation among law enforcement and other organizations and individuals who confront foreclosure and mortgage scams, and 3) legislative proposals to be submitted by the group’s next meeting in October 2005.
According to the Attorney General’s Office, first-time homebuyers are most often victims of foreclosure and mortgage scams. The elderly and Spanish-speaking homeowners are also frequently targeted.
“The best way to avoid becoming a victim is to be able to recognize and avoid these scams,” said Attorney General Suthers. “People need to get the subjective advice of those who do not have a financial interest in the matter. In the end, the old adage applies: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”
The Mortgage and Foreclosure Fraud Task Force is chaired by Attorney General Suthers and includes the following members:
Jan Zavislan, Deputy Attorney General for Consumer Protection
Jeanne Smith, Deputy Attorney General for Criminal Justice
Peg Ackerman, Legislative Liason for County Sheriff’s of Colorado
Bob Balink, El Paso County Clerk and Recorder
Carl Blesch, Investigator for the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office
Robyn Cafasso, Senior Deputy District Attorney for El Paso County
Willis Carpenter, Attorney Counsel for Colorado Association of Clerks and Recorders
Pam Cronce, Teller County Public Trustee
Patricia Crowson, Teller County Clerk and Recorder
Angela Dazlich, Larimer County Public Trustee
Nancy Doty, Arapahoe County Clerk and Recorder
Hans Fedge, Mortgage Broker and member of Colorado Association of Mortgage Brokers and Colorado Mortgage Lender’s Association
Peggy Foley, Public Trustee for Pueblo County
Sergeant Tom Frank, Civil Division, Denver Sheriff Department
Mark Hodges, Agent, Colorado Bureau of Investigation
Kevin Hyland, Agent, Colorado Bureau of Investigation
Connie Joiner, Teller County Public Trustee
Sandra Largent, Deputy of Recording Division for Arapahoe County
David Marsh, Department of Regulatory Agencies – Division of Real Estate
Ed Murray, La Plata Public Trustee and president of the Colorado Public Trustees’ Association
Sergeant Dave Oliver, Civil Division Director for City and County of Denver
Carol Snyder, Adams County Clerk and Recorder
Cynthia Taylor, Director of Consumer Division for the Boulder District Attorney’s Office