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FBI: Mortgage fraud a long-term concern

Aug. 12, 2011 at 6:07 PM

WASHINGTON, Aug. 12 (UPI) -- The FBI said Friday the high levels of U.S. mortgage fraud seen in 2009 extended into 2010, with schemes being readily adaptive and resilient.

The FBI released its 2010 Mortgage Fraud Report Year in Review, saying both licensed and non-licensed brokers, lenders, appraisers, underwriters, accountants, real estate agents, developers, investors, builders and bank account representatives have been found to perpetrate a level of mortgage fraud leading to an undetermined amount of financial loss.

The top states known for fraud activity in 2010 were California, Florida, New York, Illinois, Nevada, Arizona, Michigan, Texas, Georgia, Maryland, and New Jersey -- nearly unchanged from 2009.

Loan origination, foreclosure rescue, real estate investment, equity skimming, short sale, illegal property flipping, title/escrow/settlement, commercial loan and builder bailout schemes were the dominant fraud schemes identified by law enforcement.

In July 2010, the FBI and Justice Department implemented a joint mortgage fraud takedown effort called Operation Stolen Dreams, the largest anti-mortgage fraud effort in history.

The FBI said the persistent weakness in the housing market will continue to attract fraudsters whose methods are effective in a down economy.

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