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Miami looks to export mortgage fraud

Or at least a task force to investigate it. On the agenda for Miami-Dade County's annual fly-in to DC: pressing for the creation of a nationwide mortgage fraud task force modeled after the county's effort.

Championed by Rep. Kendrick Meek, D-Miami, and Commissioner Sally Heyman, the bill would establish a nationwide task force at the U.S. Department of Justice. The bill would help oversee regional task forces in states hardest-hit by mortgage fraud -- like Florida.

"This has hit Florida so hard, we're to the point where we need all hands on deck,'' Meek said.

Miami-Dade's task force has made more than 100 arrests, said Glenn Theobald, chief legal counsel for the county police department. But he said the local task force would benefit from a national coordinator who could work with task forces across the country -- identifying scammers who cross state lines.

Under Meek's bill, which cleared the House last year but was blocked in the Senate, the task force would aid in enforcing state mortgage fraud laws, and provide training to federal, state, and local law enforcement. Bill Nelson has the legislation in the Senate.