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Top federal and state officials on Monday announced a broad
crackdown on mortgage modification scams, accusing “criminal actors” of
preying on desperate borrowers caught up in the nation’s housing crisis.

Government
officials say scammers are seeking to take advantage of borrowers in
danger of default. The frauds often involve companies with
official-sounding names designed to make borrowers think they are
taking advantage of the Obama administration’s efforts to help modify
or refinance 7 to 9 million mortgages.

Officials say such
operations almost always are fraudulent, and that help is available for
free from government-approved housing counselors.

“These
predatory scams callously rob Americans of their savings and
potentially their homes,” Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said
Monday. “We will shut down fraudulent companies more quickly than
before. We will target companies that otherwise would have gone
unnoticed under the radar.”

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