Leahy Attends White House Signing Ceremony For Anti-Fraud Legislation

President Also Signs Bill To Provide Relief To Americans Facing Foreclosure

WASHINGTON (Wednesday, May 20, 2009) – Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Wednesday attended a White House ceremony where President Obama signed into law Leahy-authored legislation to combat the growing wave of fraud.  Leahy introduced the Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act in February, and worked to move the legislation through Judiciary Committee and Senate consideration.  Leahy is the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act will strengthen tools and increase resources available to federal prosecutors to combat fraud.  Reports of mortgage and corporate fraud are at an all-time high, and law enforcement expects a significant increase in fraud in connection with the economic recovery efforts.  The Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act will rebuild the nation’s capacity to investigate and prosecute the mortgage and corporate frauds that have undermined the economy and hurt working people.

Leahy said, “I have worked hard in this Congress to combat the fraud that threatens to undermine our government’s efforts to rebuild the economy and help those who are suffering in these tough economic times.  This new law will help protect the billions of dollars in taxpayer money being spent to stabilize our banking system and housing markets, and to make sure those who have taken advantage of vulnerable homeowners, investors, and retirees by committing fraud are held fully accountable under the law.  This important anti-fraud law is the kind of bipartisan achievement that the American people want and expect from Congress and from the new administration.”

Also on Wednesday, the President signed into law on the Helping Families Save Their Homes Act to provide additional tools to borrowers and banks to help prevent foreclosures.  The law will also increase the ability of homeowners and loan servicers to use the resources available in the Act.  The law includes a Leahy-authored provision to make important changes to the Neighborhood Stabilization Program, which provides assistance to states for the rehabilitation of abandoned and foreclosed properties.  The provision will allow Vermont and other small states to use their allocation of funds to address concerns on a statewide basis.  The Department of Housing and Urban Development had previously placed restrictions on how Vermont could expend funds.  The restrictions excluded Chittenden County and other population centers throughout the state.

Leahy said, “Addressing the housing crisis is a vital step in moving the country toward economic recovery.  This change will give states another tool for rehabilitating and redeveloping homes in order to stabilize neighborhoods.  That will help communities in Vermont and around the country address the issues brought on by increased foreclosures.”

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