Georgia again ranks high in annual Mortgage Fraud Index

The results of the annual Investigation Mortgage Fraud Index (MFI) were announced last Friday, and Georgia is once again a solid top-10 entry.

That is a dubious distinction, given that the MFI pegs higher numbers, such as Georgia’s, to increased evidence of mortgage fraud. The index, which is issued by LexisNexis Risk Solutions, an Alpharetta-based company, has placed Georgia within the top 10 of all states on its “most fraud” list for the past five years running. It ranks sixth in the 2011 MFI.

One point clearly noted by the index is this: There is a lot of mortgage-related fraud going on across the country. The MFI measures fraud committed by industry professionals such as brokers, appraisers, realtors, bankers and mortgage originators, and the FBI states that there were more than 90,000 “Mortgage Fraud Suspicious Activity Reports” investigated in 2010.

One shifting trend of some significance, notes the report, is the displacement of loan origination fraud by distressed homeowner fraud as the most common form of fraud recently.

Among many other types of fraud, the FBI lists the following as commonly employed fraud schemes:

  • Foreclosure rescue fraud
  • Property flipping
  • Equity skimming (often using a straw buyer, or “nominee”)
  • Air loans (applicable to low-value property or even non-existent real estate)
  • False down payments (often involving collusion between a buyer and broker or seller)
  • False loan documentation

Mortgage fraud is among the most common of all white collar fraud crimes. Defending against a charge can be a complex undertaking that requires a careful investigation of all facts, participants and witnesses; close scrutiny of all the financial information that is relevant to the matter; skilful use of pretrial motions; a strong understanding of the client’s culpability and bargaining power; and proven experience regarding the best defense to employ.

Contact an experienced Georgia mortgage fraud defense attorney with a demonstrated record of client success for more information.

Source: Kennesaw Patch, “Georgia ranks 6th in mortgage fraud,” Bob Pepalis, July 17, 2012