Industry NewsMortgage

FBI boosts mortgage fraud caseload

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The FBI said it investigated 818 mortgage fraud cases in 2006, winning 204 convictions and collecting $389 million in restitution and $231 million in fines. The number of cases investigated was up sharply from 436 in 2003, but other statistics suggest that the FBI investigates only a small percentage of mortgage fraud cases and is not keeping pace with the growth in suspected fraud. The Treasury Department's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) in November projected that mortgage lenders would file 28,372 mortgage-related suspicious activity reports (SARs) in 2006, a more than five-fold increase from the 5,387 SARs filed in 2002. An FBI spokesman did not immediately return a call from Inman News. But the bureau acknowledged in its annual Financial Crimes Report to the Public that "the true level of mortgage fraud is largely unknown." Although banks are required to file suspicious activity reports, "A significant portion of the mortgage industry is void of any mandatory frau...