12 U.S. Code § 1701q–1 - Civil money penalties against mortgagors under section 1701q of this title
The penalties set forth in this section shall be in addition to any other available civil remedy or criminal penalty, and may be imposed whether or not the Secretary imposes other administrative sanctions. The Secretary may not impose penalties under this section for violations a material cause of which are the failure of the Department, an agent of the Department, or a public housing agency to comply with existing agreements.
Whenever a mortgagor of property that includes 5 or more living units and that has a mortgage held pursuant to section 1701q of this title, who has agreed in writing, as a condition of a transfer of physical assets, a flexible subsidy loan, a capital improvement loan, a modification of the mortgage terms, or a workout agreement, to use nonproject income to make cash contributions for payments due under the note and mortgage, for payments to the reserve for replacements, to restore the project to good physical condition, or to pay other project liabilities, knowingly and materially fails to comply with any of these commitments, the Secretary may impose a civil money penalty on the mortgagor in accordance with the provisions of this section.
If no hearing is requested within 15 days of receipt of the notice of opportunity for hearing, the imposition of the penalty shall constitute a final and unappealable determination. If the Secretary reviews the determination or order, the Secretary may affirm, modify, or reverse that determination or order. If the Secretary does not review the determination or order within 90 days of the issuance of the determination or order, the determination or order shall be final.
In determining the amount of a penalty under subsection (b) or (c), consideration shall be given to such factors as the gravity of the offense, any history of prior offenses (including offenses occurring before December 15, 1989), ability to pay the penalty, injury to the tenants, injury to the public, benefits received, deterrence of future violations, and such other factors as the Secretary may determine in regulations to be appropriate.
After exhausting all administrative remedies established by the Secretary under subsection (d)(1), a mortgagor against whom the Secretary has imposed a civil money penalty under subsection (b) or (c) may obtain a review of the penalty and such ancillary issues as may be addressed in the notice of determination to impose a penalty under subsection (d)(1)(A) in the appropriate court of appeals of the United States, by filing in such court, within 20 days after the entry of such order or determination, a written petition praying that the Secretary’s order or determination be modified or be set aside in whole or in part.
The court shall not consider any objection that was not raised in the hearing conducted pursuant to subsection (d)(1) unless a demonstration is made of extraordinary circumstances causing the failure to raise the objection. If any party demonstrates to the satisfaction of the court that additional evidence not presented at such hearing is material and that there were reasonable grounds for the failure to present such evidence at the hearing, the court shall remand the matter to the Secretary for consideration of such additional evidence.
The decisions, findings, and determinations of the Secretary shall be reviewed pursuant to section 706 of title 5.
If a mortgagor fails to comply with the Secretary’s determination or order imposing a civil money penalty under subsection (b) or (c), after the determination or order is no longer subject to review as provided by subsections (d)(1) and (e), the Secretary may request the Attorney General of the United States to bring an action in an appropriate United States district court to obtain a monetary judgment against the mortgagor and such other relief as may be available. The monetary judgment may, in the court’s discretion, include the attorneys fees and other expenses incurred by the United States in connection with the action. In an action under this subsection, the validity and appropriateness of the Secretary’s determination or order imposing the penalty shall not be subject to review.
The Secretary may compromise, modify, or remit any civil money penalty which may be, or has been, imposed under this section.
The term “knowingly” means having actual knowledge of or acting with deliberate ignorance of or reckless disregard for the prohibitions under this section.
The Secretary shall issue such regulations as the Secretary deems appropriate to implement this section.
Notwithstanding any other provision of law, all civil money penalties collected under this section shall be deposited in the fund established under section 1715z–1a(j) of this title.
Section was enacted as part of the Housing Act of 1959, and not as part of the National Housing Act which comprises this chapter.
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