Office of the
District Attorney
Alameda County
Nancy E. O'Malley, District Attorney

District Attorney's Office Enforcing Blight Clean Up

December 22, 2009

Alameda County District Attorney Nancy E. O’Malley announced today that Aurora Loan Services LLC a former subsidiary of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., has been held accountable for maintaining a blighted property in East Oakland. The action against Aurora occurred under a newly created program by the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office that focuses on banks that allow vacant, foreclosed homes to become magnets for crime and blight in urban neighborhoods. Under the program, the District Attorney's Office works with police and city agencies to ensure that banks clean up blighted homes or face possible criminal nuisance charges. In this case, the District Attorney’s Office, Real Estate Fraud Division, notified Aurora Loan Services that they were in violation of California’s criminal nuisance statutes and demanded that they abate the nuisance immediately or face criminal charges.

Aurora paid outstanding code violation fines to the City of Oakland and pledged to work with the District Attorney’s Office, the Oakland Police Department and City of Oakland to abate the nuisance at 9649 E Street.

This action is one of a series of programs undertaken by the Real Estate Fraud Division of the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office to help protect residents from the collateral consequences of the recent crisis in the real estate industry.

“Hidden in the mess of the sub-prime real estate debacle that has caused so much economic distress in our country are the public safety issues this crisis has caused in many of our neighborhoods in Alameda County,” said David Lim, deputy district attorney assigned to the Real Estate Fraud Division.

“When homes are sold at foreclosure, banks buy them and then often leave them abandoned. These vacant homes become magnets for gang activity, drug dealing, and other criminal enterprises,” explained Lim. “The result is less safety for the people living in these neighborhoods. Often, foreclosed homes in urban neighborhoods, such as East Oakland, sit vacant longer, due to severely reduced property values. Through today’s action, the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office has sent a strong message to financial institutions that they too need to be responsible neighbors and take care of the homes they own, regardless of where it sits or whether it is occupied.”

In October of 2009, the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office, Real Estate Fraud Division, learned of blighted conditions at the E Street home in East Oakland, California. The home has been the target of four drug surveillance operations by the Oakland Police Department in the past 12 months, with drugs being recovered after each operation. In one incident, a loaded firearm was also recovered at the home.

Contact: David Lim, Deputy District Attorney
Alameda County District Attorney’s Office
Consumer and Environmental Protection Division
(510) 569-9281