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Seniors Among Hardest Hit by Foreclosure Rescue Scams; Today's Launch of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is Critical

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 21, 2011

CONTACT:
Stacie B. Royster
202-662-8317, office
202-445-6101, mobile
sroyster@lawyerscommittee.org

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law applauds today's launch of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).  To mark this momentous date in the fight for consumer protections, the Lawyers' Committee released an issue brief on the severe impact of the ongoing foreclosure rescue scam crisis on older Americans. Scammers are preying on distressed homeowners by offering much-needed foreclosure counseling or loan modification assistance for a fee, yet failing to deliver any results-or refunds-in the end.

Complaints submitted to the Lawyer's Committee's national Loan Modification Scam Database since February 2010 reveal that older Americans are among the hardest hit by these scams. As of July 11, 2011, homeowners nationwide have reported over $40 million ($40,220,895) in losses from fees paid to fraudulent and deceptive "rescuers."  Homeowners age 51 and older reported losses of over $16 million ($16,593,535)-a staggering 41 percent of the total losses reported.

"I am excited that the CFPB is finally becoming a reality," said Lawyers' Committee Executive Director Barbara Arnwine.  "Consumers, particularly people of color, have gone far too long without proper protections from bad actors and discriminatory practices in the financial market which has adversely impacted the middle class. This new agency will demand better accountability for those providing financial products to consumers.  The Lawyers' Committee looks forward to partnering with this important new agency."

The Lawyers' Committee supports the CFPB as consistent with our goal of securing equal justice under law. We are particularly encouraged to see that one of the CFPB's specific initiatives includes its Office of Older Americans, set to begin operations early next year.  The Lawyers' Committee is proud of our recent successes in advocating for consumers' rights, and looks forward to the increased transparency that the CFPB's regulatory and information-sharing capabilities will provide. We hope that Congress will permit this new agency to fulfill its stated purpose to work on behalf of consumers, ensuring their economic rights and promoting responsible consumer financial products and services. 

The Lawyers' Committee's national Loan Modification Scam Database is a central component of the Loan Modification Scam Prevention Network, a joint initiative of the Lawyers' Committee's Fair Housing & Fair Lending and Legal Mobilization Projects.

About the Lawyers' Committee
The Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (LCCRUL), a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, was formed in 1963 at the request of President John F. Kennedy to involve the private bar in providing legal services to address racial discrimination. The principal mission of the Lawyers' Committee is to secure, through the rule of law, equal justice under law, particularly in the areas of fair housing and fair lending, community development, employment discrimination, voting, education and environmental justice.  For more information about the LCCRUL, visit www.lawyerscommittee.org.

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