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AG Kilmartin Legislation Prohibiting Illegal Practices in the Mortgage Industry Passes the House

Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin applauded the Rhode Island House of Representatives for passing legislation filed at his request that creates the criminal offense of residential mortgage fraud.

Residential mortgage fraud is when a person knowingly makes an omission or misrepresentation of a fact with the deliberate intention that it will be relied on in the mortgage lending process; receives proceeds in connection with a fraudulent transaction; conspires with another to engage in acts of residential mortgage fraud; or files a document that is known to be a misstatement.

The legislation (H5695) makes residential mortgage fraud a felony and those convicted would be subject to imprisonment up to 10 years, a fine of $10,000, or both. If the offender knew that the victim was vulnerable due to age, infirmity, or reduced physical or mental capacity, or national origin, they would be subject to imprisonment up to 15 years, a fine of $15,000, or both; and court-ordered restitution. In addition, any person who engages in a pattern of residential mortgage fraud would be subject to imprisonment up to 20 years, a fine of $100,000 or both.

This act is a national model for residential mortgage fraud based on Georgia law. Rhode Island joins over twenty 20 states, including Connecticut and Massachusetts, that have enacted similar legislation.

"I commend the House of Representatives for passing this necessary and important legislation. The collapse of the housing market prompted the need for legislation to protect vulnerable populations from those who engage in patterns of residential mortgage fraud," said Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin.

The legislation enjoys the support of financial and lending associations. The companion senate legislation is (S0835), passed the Senate on June 14, 2017.

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