Editor's note: In this five-part series, Inman News examines the rising tide of mortgage fraud in the U.S., giving an overview of the problem, describing how it works, explaining obstacles to fighting it and describing technologies that combat it and legislation that aims to defeat it. To read the entire five-part report, "Inside real estate's fraud crisis," with two bonus stories, subscribe to Inman News. Kathleen Wood had a funny feeling about the appraisal documentation for a loan she was reviewing in her role as operations manager and chief underwriter for The Money Warehouse in mid-2005. Wood was nervous because the house number didn't jive with the property address on the photo. So she ran the appraisal through fraud detection software and came up with the system's lowest possible score. Wood drove by the house, which happened to be local, and bingo -- the property she had been led to was not the home detailed in the appraisal report. As Wood's story demonstrates, an ounce of pr...
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