Evan Smith: Ryu’s fraud-fighting bill passes both House and Senate

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Rep. Cindy Ryu, D-32
By Evan Smith
ShorelineAreaNews Politics Writer

A bill that State Rep. Cindy Ryu sponsored to extend a mortgage-fraud prosecution fund passed the State House of Representatives February 26 by a unanimous vote.

An identical companion bill passed the Senate three days earlier by a 47-2 vote.

The bills would extend a $1 surcharge on deed-of trust filings to pay for mortgage-fraud prosecution, including prosecution staff time.

The mortgage-lending-fraud-prosecution account was scheduled to expire this year. The legislation extends it through June 2016.

"Criminals continue to prey on Washington's residents with a variety of mortgage fraud schemes," said Ryu (D-Shoreline), who represents the 32nd District. "Local prosecutors would not have the resources to pursue these criminals without this resource.”

The Legislature created the Mortgage Lending Fraud Prosecution Account in 2003 to help pay for prosecutions of mortgage fraud, which often involve lengthy, complex and costly cases that would otherwise impose heavy burdens on the budgets of county prosecutors.

The director of consumer services at the state department of financial institutions had requested the Ryu bill.

Ryu is a member of the House committee on business and financial institutions.

The $1 surcharge on deeds of trust was originally suggested by the mortgage industry, which has urged lawmakers to protect homeowners by passing Ryu's bill before the fraud-fighting account expires.

"We wholeheartedly support it," said Steve Buckner on behalf of the Washington Association of Mortgage Professionals. "We do not want the bad actors in the industry. We want them out."

The chairman of the Committee, Rep. Steve Kirby (D-Tacoma), said it was surprising to see a bill that continues a state fee earn universal support.

"Not one single person in the state of Washington has signed in opposed to this bill," Kirby remarked during the public hearing.

Ryu is a Democrat representing Shoreline, Lake Forest Park, Kenmore, Woodway, south Edmonds and the rest of the 32nd Legislative District.


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