Government closes mortgage scams tied to Google

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) ? Federal government regulators have shut down dozens of Internet scams that had been paying Google to run deceptive ads promising to help desperate homeowners avoid foreclosure.

The crackdown announced Wednesday targeted 85 businesses accused of duping homeowners hoping to lower their home loan payments. The U.S. Treasury Department division overseeing the criminal investigation into the alleged misconduct didn’t identify the operations that have been shut down.

Google’s name popped up because the Internet search leader had been running the ads that the alleged scam artists used to bait their victims.

In an effort to prevent the abuse, the government said Google has suspended its business ties with more than 500 advertisers and agencies connected to the alleged swindlers.

A Google Inc. spokeswoman declined to comment.