Industry News

Real estate loan fraud on upswing in South Carolina

State's hot housing market partially to blame, official says

A South Carolina assistant U.S. attorney said the number of mortgage fraud cases in the state has grown, due in part to the state's hot housing market, the Myrtle Beach, S.C., Sun News reported. Kevin McDonald, an assistant U.S. attorney in Columbia, S.C., told the Sun News the number of mortgage fraud cases he's seen has grown in recent years. Last year, McDonald successfully prosecuted 21 individuals in the Greenville, S.C., area who took part in a fraud scheme in which appraisers, mortgage brokers, attorneys and loan officers falsified mortgage documents and inflated the value of the property they were selling, reports said. The sentences in those cases ranged from three years of probation to 20 months in federal prison, and those charged were ordered to pay more than $3.5 million in restitution to the mortgage companies they defrauded, McDonald told the Sun News. "There has been a lot more emphasis in recent years on investigating these sorts of crimes," McDonald said, acco...