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Letter: An Inadequate Albany Document

Charles Lavine’s “Foreclosure Fraud Prevention Act of 2013” bill is just one more extremely inadequate Albany document that will likely prove as effective as  treating a hemorrhage with a band-aid. This bill is aimed at banks and money-lending companies  that make obscene profits  by knowingly, falsely, and deceitfully cheating homeowners out of millions of dollars. Yet, on those rare occasions when they fail to get away with their crimes, they will only be charged with a misdemeanor and have to pay an insignificantly small (to them) cost-of-doing-business fine of a mere $1,000; and might see an employee spend “Up to one year in jail” (which will in most cases be 30 days---at most---or less). Even worse is the part of the bill  that  makes it a felony punishable by (only “up to”! ) 4 years in prison ONLY IF  an employee commits this crime 5 or more times! So the “message” to the unethical business is that it’s “okay” to commit this crime 2, 3, or even 4 times, because the worst that might happen is a relative slap-on-the-wrist which makes the illegal profits worth the risk. If this bill becomes a law, it may be better than nothing, but it still stinks! How ignorant and impotent can our Albany lawmakers be?

Richard Siegelman