FBI annual mortgage fraud report: Tampa Bay red hot for pending investigations
According to the FBI, prevalent mortgage fraud schemes reported by law enforcement and industry in (fiscal year) 2009 included: loan origination, foreclosure rescue, builder bailout, equity skimming, short sale, home equity line of credit, illegal property flipping, reverse mortgage fraud (currently the FHA’s Home Equity Conversion Mortgage and the primary reverse mortgage loan product being offered by lenders and targeted by fraudsters), credit enhancement, and schemes associated with loan modifications.
And the emerging mortgage fraud schemes and trends? As reported by law enforcement and industry in 2009, they include schemes associated with various economic stimulus plans/programs, commercial real estate loan fraud, short sale flops, condo conversion, property theft/fraudulent leasing of foreclosed properties, and tax-related fraud.
Unfortunately, law enforcement sources also reported increases in gang members, organized criminal groups, and domestic extremists perpetrating mortgage fraud, and the resurgence of debt elimination/redemption schemes.
FBI field divisions that ranked in the top 10 for pending investigations during FY 2009 were Tampa (below, in red), Los Angeles, New York, Detroit, Portland, Washington Field, Miami, Chicago, Salt Lake City, and Dallas. See the table for details.
There's a startling amount of information on mortgage fraud -- plenty of it focused on Florida -- in this FBI report. Worth a closer read right here.
-- Robert Trigaux, Times Business Columnist