Foreclosure Investigation by Register of Deeds leads to renewed funding to assist homeowners

LANSING, MI--At the request of Ingham County Register of Deeds Curtis Hertel Jr., and Ingham County Treasurer Eric Schertzing, the Ingham County Commissioners renewed a $60,000 investment into foreclosure fraud prevention during their meeting on Tuesday, July 23rd. The county will continue to contract for free legal aid, for residents who have been affected by the recent crisis.

Specifically, the money provides assistance for those whose mortgages were improperly foreclosed on because state and federal laws were not complied with. Multiple illegal foreclosure practices have received national attention in recent months, some involving forged mortgage documents and others involving fraudulent practices that have unlawfully shortened the length of time that residents have to rescue their homes

"I want to thank the Ingham County Commission for appropriating this money for our residents", said Hertel. "It is important that everyone who lost their home because of fraudulent paperwork will have a chance to seek restitution." Hertel has also been working with the Center for Financial Health to assist homeowners who are being threatened with foreclosure.

Ingham County will retain the services of Legal Services of South Central Michigan to continue advising and, when necessary, representing residents facing foreclosure. County residents who believe they may have been improperly foreclosed upon, can contact the Ingham County Foreclosure Fraud hotline at 517-676-7210. "Our office will be able to assist more homeowners facing foreclosure because of the support from the Ingham County Register of Deeds and the Ingham County Treasurer," said Kellie Maki, Managing Attorney of the Lansing office of LSSCM. "We appreciate the support to meet these tremendous needs in our community."

"Our county's property tax base has been devastated by foreclosures in recent years", said Schertzing. "The money spent on this program will be easily offset by the financial benefit that we all receive when residents are able to stay in their homes."

"The volume of foreclosures in Ingham County has been staggering, and the Commission's renewal of these legal funds is a welcome piece of news", said Hertel. "In the previous 12-month cycle, the LSSCM closed 94 cases thanks to this funding, and we have a few particular cases in litigation that we hope will set positive legal precedents in Michigan on behalf of homeowners. This has been a successful partnership that will now be able to continue for another year."

Kara Hope, Ingham County Commissioner from the 7th District, supported the funding. "This relatively small investment has a big impact--it benefits the whole community. It obviously helps the individual homeowners who are directly affected by fraudulent foreclosure, but it also protects property values for their neighbors."

Published: Thu, Aug 1, 2013

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