Continuing her quest for justice in the mortgage settlement talks between the Department of Justice, state attorneys general, and Wall Street banks involved in mortgage fraud, Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) has sent a letter to Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen asking that he reject any settlement that grants Wall Street banks immunity from prosecution, ends investigations into the meltdown, or fails to adequately compensate those homeowners who have been defrauded.
Recent reports indicate that involved parties, including Van Hollen, are considering a settlement between $20 billion and $25 billion. It is estimated that the total value homeowners nationwide have lost is roughly $750 billion. This settlement may also prevent state attorneys general from proceeding with their own investigations into the causes of the mortgage meltdown. Some state attorneys general, including those from Massachusetts, New York, California, and Delaware, have raised questions about the potential settlement.
"Thousands of Wisconsin families were victims of mortgage or foreclosure fraud," said Baldwin. "Many have already lost their homes and many more are still facing foreclosure. In many cases, the large mortgage servicers appear to have engaged in outright criminal behavior, including forgery and automated signing of court documents. Middle class families have been financially devastated as a result of this unlawful behavior. The proposed settlement falls far short of fair compensations for those who have been wronged," said Baldwin. "People deserve to know the facts and to be made whole. I urge Attorney General Van Hollen to work with the other state attorneys general to reject this proposed settlement and secure a fair resolution for Wisconsin families."
In November, Congresswoman Baldwin introduced House Concurrent Resolution 85 stating that any action taken by the U.S. Department of Justice should be consistent with the following goals:
(1) The mortgage servicers who engaged in fraudulent behavior should not be granted criminal or civil immunity for potential wrongdoing related to illegal mortgage and foreclosure practices.
(2) The Federal Government and State attorneys general should proceed with full investigations into claims of fraudulent behavior by mortgage servicers.
(3) Any financial settlement reached with mortgage servicers should appropriately compensate for, and accurately reflect, the extent of harm to all victims, including homeowners and State pension beneficiaries, caused by the mortgage servicers' fraudulent behavior.
Congresswoman Baldwin has been leading the fight in Congress to see that the victims of fraudulent bank practices be adequately compensated and that the banks be held accountable for their actions. She also sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Holder in early November expressing her concerns.