LOS ANGELES, Calif.–A special task force of attorneys, including some in Los Angeles, will be cracking down on people and companies involved in mortgage fraud, Attorney General Kamala Harris announced today.

The Mortgage Fraud Strike Force will prosecute illegal activity at every stage of the mortgage process, from loan originators to investment firms that improperly market mortgage-backed securities to California investment boards, Harris said.

“Californians in search of the American Dream all too often found a protracted personal and legal nightmare,” according to Harris, who visited Los Angeles to make the announcement. “Families are losing their homes while those who perpetrated crimes and frauds against them walk free.”

The task force will include 25 attorneys in offices in Los Angeles, Fresno, San Francisco and Sacramento.

“With nearly 10,000 foreclosures in the city of Los Angeles last year, this task force is certain to help thousands of residents and families from being victimized by instituting the critical law enforcement component to help stop the practice of predatory lending once and for all,” Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said.

Harris said the attorneys will be divided into teams corresponding to three teams that include:
* a consumer enforcement team that will target predatory lenders, unfair business practices in marketing loans and loan modification and foreclosure product scams,
* a criminal enforcement team, which includes investment fraud associated with mortgage scams and foreclosure relief, and
* a corporate fraud team that will target false claims made to the state about the quality of mortgage security investments tied to sub-prime mortgages.

According to Harris’ office, about 547,000 foreclosure claims were filed in the state in 2010, and thousands of claims of mortgage and foreclosure fraud claims have been made to the Attorney General’s Office.