LANSING – As part of a bipartisan effort to protect our families from mortgage fraud, State Representative Brandon Dillon (D-Grand Rapids) today introduced a plan to strengthen penalties for those who commit mortgage fraud in Michigan.

“Michigan’s down economy has left many families struggling financially and looking for ways to avoid foreclosure,” Dillon said. “Unfortunately, it’s also leaving them vulnerable to scam artists and thieves who offer fraudulent deals advertised as services that can ‘help’ families hang on to their homes. While taking advantage of a family in financial distress may sound unthinkable to most people, it’s a very real danger that many of our neighbors and residents across the state face. It’s time that we put a stop to it.”

Dillon’s plan will increase penalties for those convicted of forging property deeds or obtaining property by false pretenses. The rest of the bipartisan plan introduced today will:

  • Establish the crime of mortgage fraud with penalties of up to 20 years in prison and a $500,000 fine.
  • Increase the penalty for violations of the Notary Public Act from one year to up to four years in prison.
  • Make the forgery of deeds and other documents related to real property a felony punishable by up to 14 years in prison.
  • Increase the statute of limitations for mortgage fraud and forgery crimes to 10 years.

“The punishments for all types of mortgage fraud need to fit the severity of the crime, but that’s not the case right now in Michigan,” Dillon said. “By toughening our laws we can help protect our families and slam the brakes on mortgage fraud.”