A national community advocacy group fighting the current foreclosure crisis gave Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff an "A" grade for his office's efforts to fight mortgage fraud and aid Utah homeowners in trouble.

The 38-year-old grass-roots organization ACORN conducted a study through its financial justice center that evaluated all 51 attorneys general. The A.G.s were awarded points based on their responses to a questionnaire that explored policy issues regarding the mortgage service industry, predatory lending and state help for distressed homeowners. Shurtleff was one of 18 state attorneys general who earned A's, and one of only two Republicans in that group.

"I am honored to be one of the few attorneys general to receive an A from ACORN for my office's efforts to protect the citizens of Utah from mortgage fraudsters, unscrupulous brokers and predatory lenders," Shurtleff said. "We will continue to investigate, prosecute and sue anyone who tries to harm Utah homeowners."

Shurtleff, who has served as Utah's top law enforcement officer since 2001, is credited with conducting a large-scale investigation in 2004 into criminals using stolen Social Security numbers to commit mortgage fraud He is also a current member of the State Attorney General Foreclosure Prevention Working Group — a coalition of 11 state attorneys general offices and representatives from the financial industry investigating ways to address foreclosure-related issues. Shurtleff said he remains committed to fighting for Utahns.

"I will continue to work with ACORN to educate the public about the risks of mortgage fraud and foreclosure rescue scams," Shurtleff said.

The ACORN Financial Justice Center recently opened an office in Utah and has received a $7.8 million grant to help homeowners "find solutions to avoid foreclosure."