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Fraud Cases Increase in 2009

February 2, 2010

The number of mortgage fraud cases increased last year, though the dollar amount held steady, according to MortgageDaily.com's fourth-quarter 2009 mortgage fraud index. Activity was worst in Florida and Nevada. During 2009, the FraudBlogger Index climbed to 1677 from the previous year's 1488.

The FraudBlogger Index reflects the number and dollar amount of mortgage fraud cases with reported activity during the period. The index is published by MortgageDaily.com based on mortgage fraud cases tracked at FraudBlogger.com.

Despite the increase in the index, the dollar amount of the cases tracked eased slightly to $5.3 billion last year.

The divergent activity suggests law enforcement is turning its attention to smaller cases.

Looking at just the fourth quarter, the index soared to 2634 from the third quarter's 1322. A year earlier, the FraudBlogger.com Index stood at 2790.

The dollar volume of mortgage fraud tracked in the fourth quarter climbed to $1.9 billion from $1.5 billion three months earlier but fell from $2.7 billion a year earlier. By state, Nevada had the highest fourth-quarter index: 1017. The high index reflects hundreds of cases reportedly being prepared by federal prosecutors in Las Vegas.

Florida's 763 index placed it in the second spot, followed by New York's 127, California's 113 and Maryland's 67. By dollar amount, the most fourth-quarter fraud was tracked in Florida: $650 million. The high dollar volume was impacted by a stepped-up campaign by federal authorities that recently resulted in 105 Central Florida arrests.

The $314 million in fraud tracked in California left the Golden State in the No. 2 position. New York's $196 million ranked it as the state with the third-highest level of fraud, followed by Nevada's $150 million and Maryland's $89 million.



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