Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Can it really only be $1 billion?

Supposedly that is the amount of mortgage fraud that has occurred during the last decade. It seems much to low. $1 billion sounds low just for California or Florida alone. Perhaps the amount is limited to convictions of mortgage fraud. The article on mortgage fraud comes to us from AP via The Record and is titled Mortgage fraud soars by 42% in first quarter. Lets take a look -

Reported incidents of mortgage fraud jumped 42 percent nationwide, with Florida reporting the highest number of cases, according to industry data released Monday.

Properties in the Sunshine State accounted for nearly a quarter of all mortgage fraud incidents, the Mortgage Asset Research Institute said. California ranked second, followed by a three-way tie for third among Illinois, Maryland and Michigan.

The most common mortgage fraud cases included misrepresenting income, employment history and debt and assets. Maryland, for example, had an unusually high percentage - 69 percent - of its cases involved in tax return and financial statement misrepresentation.

Mortgage fraud has represented about $1 billion in losses over the past decade, the Mortgage Bankers Association has said.

It would be nice to have an outside evaluation of what the real costs of mortgage fraud. Is this billion only limited to banks' specific losses or are these numbers all encompassing? What about the people who lose their homes due to mortgage fraud by brokers? Are these included?

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