Mortgage fraud continued at high levels in 2010 in part because the fraudsters quickly adapted to the movements of the economy and changes in how loans are made according to the Mortgage Fraud Report 2010 of the FBI
The annual report provides an overview of how deep the U.S. mortgage fraud. Although the economy showed some improvement, the real estate market went into trouble, which generated many opportunities to commit fraud.
Perhaps the most alarming findings of the report was the fact that many of the scammers were professionals, from mortgage brokers, lenders and appraisers to real estate agents, lawyers, investors and builders.
Resources to combat mortgage fraud
Due to the high rates of mortgage fraud, the FBI continues to provide resources to tackle this threat. Last year the FBI participated in a nationwide operation that resulted in the criminal prosecution of 1.215 people, 485 arrests and 336 convictions.
The agency also continues to support 25 units fighting mortgage fraud and another 67 working groups. The FBI continues to work closely with the mortgage industry to share intelligence and to raise public awareness about fraud.
The most common scams
The Federal Trade Commission has identified some of the most common mortgage scams, including the following:
- Phony counseling : Scammers charge an advance fee and promise to reduce monthly mortgage payments for homeowners to save their homes. But once they take their fee disappear with the money.
- Forensic Audits : this scheme also includes the collection of advance fee. In this case, scammers promise to review the loan documents to see if the lender complied with the law.They say they can use the report to delay foreclosure, reduce debt or pay off the loan.However there is no evidence that audits help modify loans or help in some way or another.
- Revenue fictitious : Scammers convince the owners to cede the title to their homes, and while renting the house until they can compare again. But this agreement rarely goes well.The scammer income increases so that the owner can not afford it. And the victim ends up being evicted from her home.
- Documents misleading : the owners get a lot of documents with the promise of a loan "rescue" to settle the outstanding account. But in reality give the deed to their homes without realizing it.
Where to Get Help
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD for short) offers free or low cost resources to help homeowners who are struggling to pay their homes. It also provides guidance on how to avoid foreclosure , including links to agencies and HUD-approved housing also has information on other government programs.
Do not hesitate to contact the FBI if you know someone who is a victim of mortgage fraud or know someone who is committing these crimes. The FBI has offices throughout the country and the world and can be contacted at any hour, every day of the year.