| December 23, 2010

Suspicions of mortgage fraud rise in government agency

Mortgage loan delinquencies have fallen in recent weeks, as consumers continue to make timely payments to lenders, cut their credit card debt and improve their finances.

Despite the rise in consumer responsibility, one government agency is seeing a rise in suspicious activity reports, one of the main indicators of mortgage fraud.

From January to June, The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network found that suspicious activity reports related to loan fraud rose 7 percent. The number of reports the agency received also rose during this time from 32,926 in 2009 to 25,135.

“SARs are one of the most important sources of lead information for mortgage fraud investigations available to law enforcement,” said FinCEN Director James Freis.

However, 78 percent of these reports were from cases that originated more than two years ago, between 2006 and 2008, the report said. In 2009, these older claims only accounted for 44 percent of all suspicious activity reports.

Additionally, the report included more than 827 claims related to short sales and 41 references to broker price options.

Since the report only covered months prior to the foreclosure crisis, it is currently unknown whether these defaults subsequently affected the number of suspicious claims.

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