3/30/2017

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Types of Mortgage Fraud

As compiled by the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI)

Types of Mortgage Fraud:

As reported by the FBI under it's ongoing investigations, mortgage loan fraud is listed in two categories:

(1) Fraud for property:

  • Fraud for property/housing entails minor misrepresentations by the applicant solely for the purpose of purchasing a property for a primary residence. This scheme usually involves a single loan. Although applicants may embellish income and conceal debt, their intent is to repay the loan.
  • Fraud for Housing represents illegal actions perpetrated solely by the borrower. The simple motive behind this fraud is to acquire and maintain ownership of a house under false pretenses. This type of fraud is typified by a borrower who makes misrepresentations regarding his income or employment history to qualify for a loan.

(2) Fraud for profit:

  • Fraud for profit involves multiple loans and elaborate schemes perpetrated to gain illicit proceeds from property sales. It is this second category that is of most concern to law enforcement and the mortgage industry. Gross misrepresentations concerning appraisals and loan documents are common in fraud for profit schemes and participants are frequently paid for their participation.
  • Fraud for Profit is sometimes referred to as "Industry Insider Fraud" and the motive is to revolve equity, falsely inflate the value of the property, or issue loans based on fictitious properties. Based on existing investigations and mortgage fraud reporting, 80 percent of all reported fraud losses involve collaboration or collusion by industry insiders.

Recent events likely resulted in an increase in mortgage fraud as higher housing prices tempted borrowers to commit fraud for property in order to qualify for a mortgage loan. Also, mortgage fraud perpetrators likely seized the opportunity to take advantage of the relaxed lending practices to commit fraud for profit.

The most common form of mortgage fraud is illegal property flipping which entails false appraisals and other fraudulent loan documents.

Combating mortgage fraud effectively requires the cooperation of law enforcement and industry entities. No single regulatory agency is charged with monitoring this crime. The FBI, Department of Housing and Urban Development-Office of Inspector General (HUD-OIG), Internal Revenue Service, Postal Inspection Service, and state and local agencies are among those investigating mortgage fraud.

Mortgage fraud is a relatively low-risk, high-yield criminal activity that tempts many. However, according a May 2006 Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) report, finance-related occupations, including accountants, mortgage brokers, and lenders, were the most common suspect occupations associated with reported mortgage fraud. Perpetrators in these occupations are familiar with the mortgage loan process and therefore know how to exploit vulnerabilities in the system.

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