Industry NewsMortgage

FBI: Downturn brings mortgage-rescue, HELOC fraud schemes

California, Florida, Georgia lead states for mortgage fraud

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With more homeowners facing the possibility of foreclosure, the FBI says mortgage fraud schemes are targeting homeowners seeking financial guidance, and exploiting the home-equity-line-of-credit application process. The FBI's latest report on mortgage fraud identifies the top 10 states for mortgage fraud as California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Texas and Utah. Mortgage loan originations are expected to fall to $2.28 trillion this year from a high of $3.81 trillion in 2003, which could increase the likelihood that "mortgage fraud perpetrators may take advantage of eager loan originators attempting to generate loans for commission," the report said. The FBI cited an estimate by a risk management firm, The Prieston Group, that losses from mortgage fraud schemes perpetrated in 2006 will hit $4.2 billion, not including another $1.2 billion spent on fraud prevention tools. The most common form of mortgage fraud is illegal property flipping, which often ...