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While a significant portion of the mortgage industry is void of any mandatory fraud reporting and there is presently no central repository to collect all mortgage fraud complaints, SARs from financial institutions have indicated a significant increase in mortgage fraud reporting. For example, during Fiscal Year (FY) 2008, mortgage fraud SARs increased more than 36 percent to 63,173. The total dollar loss attributed to mortgage fraud is unknown. Only 7 percent of SARs report dollar loss because of the time lag between identifying a suspicious loan and liquidating the property through foreclosure and then calculating the loss amount.
One proposal informally discussed within the FBI is the creation of a mandatory reporting mechanism (beyond the current SAR requirements, which only depository institutions are required to file) to allow industry insiders to be the front line in preventing mortgage fraud. Based on current and past investigations, the FBI has recognized that the financial industry is susceptible to a number of vulnerabilities through industry insiders and other individuals involved in loan and finance transactions. FBI would like to work with FinCEN to expand the exercise of their statutory authority under the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) to consider the implementation of SAR and anti-money laundering program requirements on some of the businesses and professions that currently fall outside the scope of SAR reporting. A vigilant industry combined with this reporting stream, when made available to the FBI and HUD, would no online bank account for bad credit fee payday loans be a major step forward in addressing the practice of mortgage fraud.
The current financial crisis has produced one unexpected consequence: it has exposed prevalent fraud schemes that have been thriving in the global financial system. These fraud schemes are not new but they are coming to light as a result of market deterioration.
For example, current market conditions have helped reveal numerous mortgage fraud, Ponzi schemes, and investment frauds, such as the Bernard Madoff alleged scam. These schemes highlight the need for law enforcement and regulatory agencies to be ever vigilant of white collar crime both in boom and bust years. The FBI has experienced and continues to experience an exponential rise in mortgage fraud investigations. The number of open FBI mortgage fraud investigations has risen from 881 in FY 2006 to more than 1,600 in FY 2008. In addition, the FBI has more than 530 open corporate fraud investigations, including 38 corporate fraud and financial institution matters directly related to the current financial crisis. These corporate and financial institution failure investigations involve financial statement manipulation, accounting fraud and insider trading. Although there are many mortgage fraud schemes, the FBI is focusing its efforts on those perpetrated by industry insiders who are part of organized enterprises engaged in mortgage Fraud for Profit.
The FBI utilizes SAR data to help identify fraud schemes perpetrated by insiders. However, SAR data does not capture suspicious activity identified by the entire mortgage industry. Requiring the entire industry to report suspicious activity would give us a more complete data set to exploit. The FBI is engaged with the mortgage industry in loans in greenville nc identifying fraud trends and educating the public. Some of the current rising mortgage fraud trends include: equity skimming, property flipping, mortgage identity-related theft, and foreclosure rescue scams. Equity skimming is a tried and true method of committing mortgage fraud and criminals continue to devise new schemes. Property flipping is nothing new however, once again law enforcement is faced with an educated criminal element that is using identity theft, straw borrowers and shell companies, along with industry insiders to conceal their methods and override lender controls. Identity theft in its many forms is a growing problem and is manifested in many ways, including mortgage documents. The mortgage industry has indicated that personal, corporate, and professional identity theft in the mortgage industry is on the immediate payday loans rise. Computer technology advances and the use of online sources have also assisted the criminal in committing mortgage fraud. However, the FBI is working with its law enforcement and industry partners to identify trends and develop techniques to thwart illegal activities in this arena. As foreclosures continue to rise across the country, so too have the number of foreclosure rescue scams that target unsuspecting victims. These scams include victims losing their home equity or paying thousands of dollars in fees, and then online bank account for bad credit receiving little or no services, and ultimately losing their home to foreclosure. The FBI has implemented new and innovative methods to detect and combat mortgage fraud. One of these proactive approaches was the development of a property flipping analytical computer application, first developed by the Washington Field Office, to effectively identify property flipping in the Baltimore and Washington areas. The original concept has evolved into a national FBI initiative which employs statistical correlations and other advanced computer technology to search for companies and persons with patterns of property flipping. As potential targets are analyzed and flagged, the information is provided to the respective FBI field office for further investigation. Property flipping is best described as purchasing properties best payday emergency cash assistance loan sites and artificially inflating their value through false appraisals. Often, flipped properties go into foreclosure and are ultimately repurchased for a fraction of their original value.
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One of the best tools the FBI has in its arsenal for combating mortgage fraud is its long-standing partnerships with other federal, state, and local law enforcement.
In response to a growing gang problem, for example, the FBI stood up Safe Streets Task Forces across the country. In response to crimes in Indian Country, the FBI developed the Safe Trails Task Force Program.
In response to this new threat, the FBI stood up Mortgage Fraud Task Forces across the country.
Presently, there online bank account for bad credit are 16 mortgage fraud task forces and 39 working groups in the country. With representatives of federal, state, and local law enforcement, these task forces are strategically placed in areas identified as high threat areas for mortgage fraud.
Partners are varied but typically include representatives of HUD-OIG, the U. Postal Inspection Service, the Internal Revenue Service, FinCEN, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, as well as state and local law enforcement officers across the country.
While the FBI has increased the number of agents around the country who investigate mortgage fraud cases from 120 special agents in FY 2007 to 180 special agents in FY 2008, this multi-agency model serves as a force-multiplier, providing an array of resources to adequately identify the source of the fraud, as well as finding the most effective way to prosecute each case, particularly in active markets where fraud is widespread. We are pleased to report that the model is working.
The purpose of the Corporate Fraud Task Force is to maximize intelligence sharing between membership agencies and to ensure the violations related to corporate fraud are appropriately addressed. In addition, since April 2007, FBI Headquarters personnel have met with representatives from the Securities and Exchange Commission once a month to coordinate the respective Corporate Fraud inventories focused on the current financial crisis and to share intelligence. In addition to its partners in law enforcement and regulatory areas, the FBI also continues to foster relationships with representatives of the mortgage industry to promote mortgage fraud awareness.
The FBI has spoken at and participated in various mortgage industry conferences and seminars, including those sponsored by the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA).
To raise awareness of this issue and provide easy accessibility to investigative personnel, the FBI has provided contact information for all FBI Mortgage Fraud Supervisors to relevant groups including the MBA, Mortgage Asset Research Institute, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and others. Additionally, the FBI is collaborating with industry to develop a more efficient mortgage fraud reporting mechanism for those not mandated to report such activity. This Suspicious Mortgage Activity Report (SMARt Form) concept is under consideration by the MBA. This will also better enable the FBI to provide reliable mortgage fraud information based on a more representative population in the mortgage industry.
Lenders are painfully aware that fraud is affecting their bottom line. Through routine interaction with FBI personnel, industry representatives are aware of our commitment to private money loans address this crime problem. The FBI frequently participates in industry sponsored fraud deterrence seminars, conferences, and meetings which include topics such as quality control and industry best practices to detect, deter, and prevent mortgage fraud.
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