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HUD OIG Focuses on Civil Fraud, Touts $48M in Restitution in 6 Months

In its latest semiannual report to Congress, the Department of Housing and Urban Development Office of Inspector General (HUD OIG) touted its efforts in bringing in more than $48 million in restitution and judgments over the six months ending at the end of March. HUD OIG also recovered close to $24 million for HUD programs during the six-month period.

"During this reporting period, we had more than $1.1 billion in funds put to better use, questioned costs of more than $125 million, and nearly $34 million in collections resulting from 44 audit reports and nearly $24 million in recoveries due to our investigative efforts,” said Inspector General David A. Montoya.

In single-family housing investigations, HUD OIG reported 42 civil actions and 116 convictions, pleas, and pretrial diversions. The office also recovered about $8.7 million in single-family housing actions.

The report called attention to the recent $614 million settlement with JPMorgan Chase regarding FHA loans, "in which the bank admitted to and accepted responsibility for improperly approving thousands of mortgage loans for government insurance and agreed to implement an enhanced quality control program," according to the OIG.

The OIG report also laid out nine initiatives for this year: "FHA appraisals and high-risk appraisers, strengthening HUD's real estate-owned program, community planning and development program oversight and guarantee performance, review of lender oversight, Operation Home Rules – Englewood Joint Initiative, community planning and development subrecipients and developers, multifamily housing programs, preforeclosure sales, and Joint Public and Indian Housing Initiative."

The report noted, "Civil fraud investigations continue to be an area of emphasis for HUD OIG, particularly with regard to mortgage fraud."

Also highlighted in the report was HUD's disaster relief. HUD allocated $15.18 billion for Hurricane Sandy relief—reduced from an originally allocated $65 billion during the government sequester. Property damages from the storm are currently estimated at about $65 billion, according to the report.

About Author: Krista Franks Brock

Krista Franks Brock is a professional writer and editor who has covered the mortgage banking and default servicing sectors since 2011. Previously, she served as managing editor of DS News and Southern Distinction, a regional lifestyle publication. Her work has appeared in a variety of print and online publications, including Consumers Digest, Dallas Style and Design, DS News and DSNews.com, MReport and theMReport.com. She holds degrees in journalism and art from the University of Georgia.

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