From the NY Daily News:
With the U.S. housing market down, mortgage fraud is up – and New York is near the top of the heap when it comes to getting fleeced, a new FBI report said.
Mortgage fraud schemes were on the rise in 2010, the last year for which data is available, as a sputtering economy, high unemployment, increasing delinquencies and foreclosures and limited credit availability created a breeding ground for scammers to take advantage of harried homeowners and the system, according to the bureau’s Mortgage Fraud Report.
“The current and continuing depressed housing market will likely remain an attractive environment for mortgage fraud perpetrators, who will continue to seek new methods to circumvent loopholes and gaps in the mortgage lending market,” said the report, which was released yesterday.
“Mortgage fraud enables perpetrators to earn high profits through illicit activity that poses a relative low risk for discovery,” the report said.
The number of pending investigations for mortgage fraud was 3,129 in 2010, a 12% increase from 2009 – and a 90% spike from 2008.
Although total dollar losses attributed to mortgage fraud is unknown, the FBI said 71%, or 2,222 of all pending cases last year, involved dollar losses totaling more than $1 million.
New York and New Jersey were among the top 10 states with the most fraud cases, and New York City was third in pending FBI investigations last year with 185, behind Las Vegas (292) and Los Angeles (195).