March 17, 2009 |
Stepped-up law enforcement and increased banking scrutiny appear to be curbing the rate of mortgage fraud in some areas of the country, including California and Nevada, prompting determined schemers to take their business to other states. Nearly a year after the FBI set up a task force in Southern California, the state has dropped from fourth place to eighth for mortgage fraud, according to a report released Monday by the Mortgage Asset Research Institute, a branch of data firm LexisNexis.
February 12, 2009 |
A suspect in a nationwide mortgage fraud scheme who fled the country was caught at the Canadian border with $1 million in Swiss bank certificates and $70,000 stuffed in his cowboy boots, authorities said Wednesday. Christopher J. Warren, 27, also was carrying 4 ounces of platinum valued at $1,420 an ounce when he was arrested early Wednesday while entering the United States at Buffalo, N.Y. After he disappeared Feb. 3, Warren was charged with conspiracy, fraud and conducting a continuing financial crime.
February 12, 2009 |
Despite an expected wave of fraud in the trillion-dollar bailout that aims to stop the ongoing financial meltdown, federal law enforcement officials told Congress on Wednesday that they have nowhere near the level of resources to combat it. Top FBI and Justice Department officials said they believed mortgage fraud and other types of corporate criminal behavior has contributed to the economic tailspin. And they said they already have more than 2,300 open investigations into suspected illegal financial activity -- including 38 probes specifically linked to the crisis.
December 3, 2008 |
Reported incidents of mortgage fraud grew 45% in the second quarter compared with a year earlier as borrowers misstated their financial information to maneuver around tighter lending standards, industry data show. Florida properties led the way with about one-fifth of mortgage fraud incidents reported in the second quarter, the Mortgage Asset Research Institute reported. California was second and Illinois third.
August 26, 2008 |
Reported incidents of mortgage fraud in the United States jumped 42% in the first quarter of 2008 from a year earlier, with Florida reporting the highest number of cases, according to industry data released Monday. Florida properties accounted for nearly a quarter of all mortgage fraud incidents, the Mortgage Asset Research Institute said. California ranked second, followed in a three-way tie by Illinois, Maryland and Michigan. The report is based on data submitted by institute subscribers about loans that were originated in the first quarter and have since been classified as fraudulent.
August 25, 2008 |
Long before the mortgage crisis began rocking Main Street and Wall Street, a top FBI official made a chilling, if little-noticed, prediction: The booming mortgage business, fueled by low interest rates and soaring home values, was starting to attract shady operators and billions in losses were possible. "It has the potential to be an epidemic," Chris Swecker, the FBI official in charge of criminal investigations, told reporters in September 2004. But, he added reassuringly, the FBI was on the case.
June 20, 2008 |
With Wall Street executives handcuffed and paraded in front of TV cameras and dozens of alleged mortgage scam artists arrested in cities nationwide, the penalty phase of the mortgage meltdown has begun in earnest. The Justice Department said Thursday that more than 400 real estate industry players, including dozens in recent days, had been charged since March in a federal crackdown on incidents of mortgage fraud that have contributed to the housing crisis.
June 4, 2008 |
Three years ago, Donna Robbins tried to use her soaring equity to remodel her house in this Napa Valley community. Instead, she says she got cleaned out. Robbins claims that friends from church who ran a finance company agreed to arrange a home equity loan to pay for a new kitchen, bathrooms and landscaping. As with most financial transactions, there were papers to sign. But Robbins says that what she was told were loan documents were in fact papers that transferred the title to her property.
April 4, 2008 |
Reports of suspected mortgage fraud rose 42% last year as banks became more leery of lies on loan applications. The Treasury Department's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network said Thursday that there were 52,868 reports of mortgage fraud in 2007, up from 37,313 a year earlier. Mortgage fraud reports were the third-most common type of suspicious activity.
March 25, 2008 |
Federal prosecutors Monday charged 19 individuals, mainly from Southern California, with defrauding homeowners in trouble partly by using "foreclosure rescue pitches" and an equity-draining technique called equity stripping. Two indictments made public Monday accused Charles Head, 33, of La Habra; his brother, Jeremy Michael Head, 30, of Huntington Beach; and others of taking part in a nationwide mortgage scam that stole $12.6 million and fraudulently obtained the titles to more than 100 homes.