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Wednesday, February 15, 2012 - 3:30am

Mortgage Settlement Debate Brewing

Not all of the money Georgia is getting in its $815 million mortgage settlement with big banks is destined to ease the foreclosure crisis.

The settlement includes a $104 million payment directly to the state. That money is designed to be used to avoid preventable foreclosures, but there's no legal requirement in Georgia law that it be spent for any particular purpose.

Attorney General Sam Olens is urging lawmakers to use the funding to target foreclosure fraudsters, and wants lawmakers to pass a House measure that lets his office investigate the violators.

House leaders said they haven't decided yet how the money will be spent. Top Senate Republicans said they want to put the money in reserves for now and have no specific plans for the funds.

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