Michigan officials are putting more resources into combating mortgage fraud schemes, increasing the number of examiners at the Office of Financial and Insurance Services (OFIS) from six to 13. The seven new mortgage examiners hired in July are focusing on the metropolitan Detroit area, a hot spot for fraudulent activity. OFIS also plans to hire a second staff attorney to handle mortgage fraud cases. "We needed them desperately for a long time," said OFIS spokeswoman Kathy Fagan of the new staff members. "We started out regulating this industry in 1981, and there were no mortgage companies at that time. Now it's about 3,200 mortgage companies, and our staffing levels had stayed the same." In its latest report to the Mortgage Bankers Association, the Mortgage Asset Research Institute ranked Michigan ninth in the nation among states with the highest rates of mortgage fraud (Florida, Utah, Georgia, Colorado and Illinois were the top five). Fagan said Michigan's high rate of home ownersh...
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