The Rise Of Mortgage Fraud In America (continued)
Foreclosure “Rescues” and Refinancing Scams
If widespread lender losses are detrimental to the nation’s economy, home and investment property foreclosures as well as mortgage fraud
may be devastating.
Adding insult to injury, those who would prey on homeowners facing foreclosure
have also found willing victims.
When interest rates on mortgage and refinance loans rose unexpectedly, a rash of home foreclosures was inevitable.
Desperate for solutions, owners turned to refinancing companies that turned over mortgages for profit in a chain of fraudulent sales. Money was skimmed off by insider traders, with a large percentage of their illicit wire transfers going unnoticed.
“Operation Malicious Mortgage” to the Rescue
The FBI, however, has relationships with watchdogs in the banking, mortgage and title industries who began to see and report patterns of suspicious activity. Large or unusual money transfers were tracked and the individuals involved watched for further activity. Complaints against predatory refinancing and foreclosure-rescue companies also yielded targets for law enforcement. In 2008, the FBI made mortgage fraud prosecution a top priority and implemented Operation Malicious Mortgage, a comprehensive sting offensive, to effect it.
While the Bureau tackles multimillion dollar mortgage fraud schemes, reporting any real estate crimes will help to keep the high priority focus on the problem.
Buyers and sellers should note and report:
- Requests to inflate the appraised value of their property.
- Requests to tamper with personal financial information for a loan increase.
- Requests to sign over a deed temporarily for mortgage payment relief.
With these crimes receiving governmental and media attention, victims have a reasonable chance of recovering their losses. A real estate attorney
can help buyers and sellers who have been solicited for illegal activity in the course of a real-estate sale or foreclosure transaction. For a list of qualified attorneys in your area, complete our short questionnaire.