California Assembly Public Safety Committee Passes Mortgage Fraud Bill

The California Assembly Public Safety Committee passed a bill Tuesday that gives the attorney general authority to better protect California homeowners from mortgage fraud and scams.

Senate Bill 1474, a critical piece of the California Homeowner Bill of Rights, would allow the attorney general to convene a special grand jury in instances where the victims of mortgage and other financial crimes reside in more than one county. Additionally, the special grand jury can investigate and indict perpetrators who either worked together or acted alone. The bill was passed unanimously.

Current law requires that charges must be filed in every county where a particular defendant committed a crime. Therefore, separate grand juries must be assembled. SB 1474 would provide the option for a special grand jury that can indict perpetrators for mortgage and other related crimes beyond the scope of single-county juries.

“The Attorney General is currently engaged in the investigation of significant crimes,” said Senator Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley, who authored the bill. “Unfortunately, county-by-county grand juries do not work well in dealing with large-scale wrongdoing in multiple jurisdictions. With this bill, the Attorney General can investigate multijurisdictional crimes – it will provide protection when Californians need it the most.”

SB 1474 will now move on to the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

Read more about the California Homeowner Bill of Rights here.