Madigan battles foreclosures, scams

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan visited the Galesburg Public Library on Friday to inform residents of the dangers of scams.

Madigan has been at the forefront of the home foreclosure crisis for many years now, and she’s not letting up.

“Over the past 10 years we have had hundreds of thousands of people come to the office of the attorney general,” said Madigan.

She said that most of the issues that come to her office have been financial, and that the mortgage crisis that escalated into the foreclosure crisis is at the heart of America’s economic problems.

“We are seeing hundreds, if not thousands of people coming to us every year who are struggling to stay in their homes,” she told the small crowd in the Sanderson Room at the library.

Madigan explained that she worked closely with the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to secure a $25 billion national bank foreclosure settlement.

This settlement helped provide assistance to homeowners who were scammed by fraudulent foreclosure and servicing practices.

“There are numerous programs available to help homeowners who are still struggling to make their monthly mortgage payments and stay in their homes,” said Madigan.

However, Madigan warned that even though there are a lot free legitimate programs to help with mortgage payments, there could be just as many if not more scam artists trying to get large sums of money from people who do not have it.

“Since I’ve been attorney general, we have received over 277,000 consumer complaints,” said Madigan.

To combat that, Madigan said that in 2006 a law was passed in Illinois called the Illinois Mortgage Rescue Fraud Act, which protects homeowners from losing their homes to loan and foreclosure rescue scams.

Madigan explained that scammers will go as far as to say that a consumer has missed jury duty and now there’s a warrant out for their arrest, but if they give the scam artist their Social Security number for identification, they will not be put in jail.

Madigan stressed the importance of not giving out financial information to those you do not know.

“Once you wire your money away, we are not going to get it back for you.” Madigan said, “That is just almost impossible.”