The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) has found that financial institutions filed 19,934 mortgage loan fraud suspicious activity reports (MLF SARs) in the third quarter of 2011, up from 16,567 filed in the same quarter of 2010.
According to FinCEN, 5,728 MLF SARs filed in the third quarter – 29% of the total – reported activity that occurred between October 2009 and September 2011, while almost 62% of the filings involved suspicious activities that started four or more years ago. The types of suspicious activity reported included some form of loan workout or debt elimination attempt, questionable refinance or loan modification attempts by borrowers or others targeting distressed homeowners, and Social Security number discrepancies submitted in the original loan application and the workout request.
‘As housing markets look to recover, criminals persist in their efforts to prey on struggling homeowners, while financial institutions continue to uncover apparent fraud as they work through their portfolios of earlier mortgages now in default,’ says FinCEN Director James H. Freis Jr. ‘FinCEN will continue to monitor these reports and work closely with law enforcement to help them track illicit actors.’
The top five counties ranked per capita and by SAR subject in the third quarter were Santa Clara County, Calif.; Honolulu County, Hawaii; Orange County, Calif.; San Bernardino County, Calif.; and Palm Beach County, Fla. The top five states ranked by per capita and by SAR subject were Hawaii, California, Nevada, Florida, and Delaware.