Washington state steps up fight against mortgage fraud

New fund lets prosecutors intensify investigations

The real estate event of the summer
Connect with other top producing agents at Connect SF, Aug 7-11, 2017

Last year, a mortgage broker in the Tacoma, Wash., area filed a false second lien against a property as it was headed to closing. The man planned to take advantage of an unsuspecting couple and quietly pocket $24,000 into his own account when the loan eventually funded. Until recently, county prosecutors -- already deluged with other major crimes -- faced a difficult decision: Should they place other compelling cases on the back burner and go after a mortgage fraud case? The Tacoma case was investigated and prosecuted, thanks to a special pool of funds earmarked for mortgage fraud. Other states, including California, also have adopted a Mortgage Lending Fraud Prosecution Account where a $1 or $2 surcharge is tacked on to every recorded Deed of Trust in the state. According to the Washington state attorney general's office, this cash -- about $1 million annually -- allows authorities to more readily field complaints and scrutinize every step made by every player in the mortgage lending ...