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Mortgage-related SARs spike in 2Q FinCEN
WASHINGTON (9/29/11)--The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) Monday reported that the number of suspicious activity reports (SAR) involving mortgage loan fraud (MLF) increased between the first and second quarters of 2011, totaling 29,558 at the midpoint of 2011. The 2011 number nearly doubles the total of 15,727 MLF SARs that were filed in the second quarter of 2010. FinCEN in its report noted that the majority of MLF SARs examined in the second quarter “involved mortgages closed during the height of the real estate bubble,” and said the drastic uptick during the second quarter “is directly attributable to mortgage repurchase demands and special filings generated by several institutions.” A total of 81% of MLF SARs filed in the second quarter involved suspicious activities that took place before 2008, and 63% of the SARs filed related to events that took place more than four years ago. FinCEN Director James Freis said financial institutions are “uncovering fraud as they sift through defaulted mortgages," but also noted that FinCEN has also found evidence of ongoing mortgage scams. Debt relief scams were cited in 19% of the SARs filed, and 30% of the SARs filed detailed misrepresentations of income, employment, occupancy, assets and/or liabilities. MLF SARs accounted for 15% of all SARs filed in the second quarter. More than 80% of the mortgage-related reports involved sums under $500,000, and most of the MFL SARs filed came from California or Florida, two of the states that have been hard hit by housing market troubles. For the full FinCEN report, use the resource link.
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