Interesting Housing News Links (February 20, 2009)

* Task force targets Md.’s high mortgage fraud areas (Ben Greene)

A statewide mortgage fraud task force launched today with a focus on Montgomery and Prince George’s counties and the Baltimore area, where Maryland’s highest concentrations of mortgage-related crimes occur.

* Maryland probes mortgage fraud (Ben Greene)

BALTIMORE | A statewide mortgage-fraud task force got under way Friday with a focus on Montgomery and Prince George’s counties and the Baltimore area, where Maryland’s highest concentrations of mortgage-related crimes occur.

* A SERIOUS PLAN (New York Post)

Make no mistake: President Obama’s $275 billion foreclosure-prevention package is expensive, risky and unfair to homeowners who played by the rules all along.

* New Site Helps Homeowners Avoid Loan Modification Fraud (24-7 Press Release Newswire)

GLENDALE, CA, February 11, 2009 /24-7PressRelease/ — As adjustable rate mortgages and a receding economy threaten millions of homeowners with a potential foreclosure, the demand for loan modification is causing many of the former predatory lenders to resurface and setup shop as loan modification providers.

* BofA, Citigroup say nationalization not needed (Houston Business Journal)

Amid speculation about the nationalization of banks, executives of the two banks most cited for that fate are saying it isnt necessary.

* St. Louis resident pleads guilty to mortgage fraud scam (Business First-Gtr. Louisville)

A St. Louis resident pleaded guilty to making a false statement to a financial institution as part of a mortgage fraud scheme, said A. Courtney Cox, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois.

* Dow finish is lowest in 6 years

NEW YORK � An important psychological barrier gave way on Wall Street on Thursday as the Dow Jones industrials fell to their lowest level in more than six years.

* Stocks pare losses over nationalization fears (Tim Paradis)

NEW YORK — Stocks pared their losses and traded mixed Friday after the White House sought to douse fears that the government would nationalize crippled banks.

* Commerce: Home building down 16.8% (Boston Business Journal)

The U.S. Commerce Department reported a 16.8 percent drop in construction of new homes and apartments.

* U.S. Attorney leading crackdown on mortgage fraud in Maryland (Washington Business Journal)

U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein announced an ambitious effort Friday to crack down on mortgage fraud, combining people and information from federal, state and local agencies to share information and prosecute the network of mortgage industry firms preying upon unwitting homeowners.

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