Although the dollar amount of mortgage fraud remained virtually unchanged last year, the number of mortgage fraud cases surged, according to a recent report on PRNewswire.[IMAGE]
Up from 1,488 cases in 2008, the number of mortgage fraud cases in 2009 jumped to 1,677. Despite this increase, the dollar amount remained fairly steady at $5.31 billion, down slightly from $5.38 billion the prior year, Mortgagedaily.com found in its FraudBlogger index. This divergent activity suggests law enforcement is turning its attention to smaller cases, the report said.
In the fourth quarter alone, the index surged to 2,634 from the third quarter's 1,322. However, the index was down from a year earlier when it stood at 2,790. As the number of mortgage fraud cases jumped in the fourth quarter of 2009, the dollar volume also increased. From $1.5 billion in the third quarter, the dollar amount of mortgage fraud in the fourth quarter of 2009 climbed to $1.9 billion, falling from $2.7 billion during the same quarter in 2008.
While mortgage fraud varied from state to state, Nevada, Florida, New York, California, and Maryland had the five highest indexes during the fourth quarter. With 1,017 reported mortgage fraud cases, Nevada had the highest index, followed by Florida's 763, New York's 127, California's 114, and Maryland's 67.
When ranked by dollar amount, results were different. Florida took the top spot with $650 million in mortgage fraud tracked during the fourth quarter. This high dollar volume was the result of a stepped-up campaign by federal authorities that resulted in 105 Central Florida arrests, Mortgagedaily.com said. California came in next with $314 million in fraud, followed by $196 million in New York, $150 million in Nevada, and $89 million in Maryland.