Illinois has two new laws aimed at preventing property title fraud. One law addresses the problem of fraudulent filings at county recorders’ offices, which scammers do to cloud the title records and attempt to steal property. Manny Flores, director of the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, says the new law, effective immediately, grew out of a scam in Kane County.
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“It was because of the recorder of deeds in Kane County, and their vigilance in looking out for bogus documents and contacting our agency, where we were able to do follow-up and discover that indeed, 50 troubled homeowners had been taken advantage of,” he said. The other new law increases the penalty for those who file false claims of ownership of real estate in Illinois. It’s a Class A misdemeanor now. Starting next year, a second or subsequent offense will be a felony, as will any instance when the amount of money at issue is greater than $10,000.
Also, the Illinois Housing Development Authority announced that the Hardest Hit program, which has helped keep homeowners out of foreclosure, will stop accepting new applications on Sept. 30, in anticipation that it is on the way to spending all its money. The program started with $445 million in federal funds and still has $125 million uncommitted. Since its launch in 2011, the Hardest Hit program has helped 9,000 homeowners in 96 Illinois counties.