Minnesota Mortgage Fraud Resources

by Alex Stenback on October 24, 2007

One of the ongoing problems in cases of mortgage fraud is that the victims often don’t have the resources to hire legal representation, and have no idea where to turn for help.

Add to that the fact that the authorities lack the manpower to investigate and prosecute every case of actual, bona fide fraud, and we have a situation where many, many mortgage fraud victims will never see any true relief, and an equal number of perpetrators will go unpunished.  This is a fact we all will have to get used to, unfortunately.

That said, there is some help to be had if you need it, and can’t afford an attorney – the Strib today publishes a great list of mortgage fraud resources, most of them free, available to those that may have been victims of mortgage fraud, or are facing forclosure.  We’ve also reproduced the list in its entirety after the jump so that we’ll have it once the URL is passed to history at the Star-Tribune.

Ongoing efforts in Minnesota are aimed at addressing the many layers of the housing crisis in which mortgage fraud has played a significant role. Here are some of them.

The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) (www. minnesota.acorn.org), a national nonprofit working for social justice and stronger communities, has a strong Minnesota chapter. ACORN Housing provides one-on-one mortgage loan counseling and first-time home-buyer classes. In 2007, ACORN was instrumental in advocating passage in Minnesota of the strongest anti-predatory-lending law in the nation. Call the group at 651-642-9639 to receive or give help.

The Foreclosure Relief Law Project (FRLP) (www.hppinc.org/FRLP) is part of the nonprofit Housing Preservation Project. Its goal is to avert foreclosures, ameliorate the effects of foreclosures, and hold accountable those who played a role in creating the foreclosure crisis through systemic, impact litigation. FRLP also trains other lawyers to represent individual homeowners in foreclosure. Call 651-642-0102 for details.

The Equity Stripping Task Force (www.volunteerlawyers network.org/volunteer/full/realestate) is a coalition of legal service providers, attorneys and community partners working to assist victims of predatory lending. This group works with families who have been victims of unfair lending practices that seek to strip them of their homes. Task Force members have provided legal representation for dozens of victimized homeowners. More attorneys, however, are needed to volunteer by calling 612-752-6649.

Mid-Minnesota Legal Assistance, including the Legal Aid Society of Minneapolis (www.midmnlegal.org), provides various legal services to low-income and elderly persons in Minneapolis and 20 counties in central Minnesota and has been a refuge for many victims of mortgage fraud. These services include legal representation in court and counseling for victims of predatory lending and foreclosure scams.

Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services (www.smrls.org) provides free legal representation and advice to low-income people in St. Paul and 33 counties in southern Minnesota. Its Housing Equity Law Project provides fair housing enforcement services, including negotiating settlements and representing people in court and administrative proceedings.

The Lawyers’ Council on Social Justice, a national nonprofit organization, has a student-directed chapter at the University of St. Thomas law school. Law students are available to educate citizens, particularly those living in north Minneapolis, about predatory-lending dangers and sources of assistance.

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