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Reported incidents of mortgage fraud rose 26 percent from 2007 to 2008, according to a new report by the industry group Mortgage Asset Research Institute, or MARI. Application fraud was the most commonly reported type of fraud, representing 61 percent of all cases. Fraud related to tax returns and financial statements was up 60 percent from 2007, representing about one in four reported cases. Other types of fraud included misrepresentations related to appraisals or valuations, verifications of deposit, verifications of employment, escrow or closing costs, and credit reports. Rhode Island, which as recently as 2004 ranked among the 10 states with the least mortgage fraud, topped MARI's mortgage fraud index, followed by Florida, Illinois, Georgia, Maryland, New York, Michigan, Cali...