Sunday, August 31, 2008

Mortgage Fraud Up Sharply - Internet Is Key Facilitator

Kenneth R. Harney writes in The Los Angeles Times:

A benchmark quarterly study released Monday by the mortgage industry's principal compiler of fraud reports, the Mortgage Asset Research Institute, or MARI, found that the number of cases jumped by 42% between the second quarter of 2007 and the same period this year.

Tough market conditions appear to increase pressures to commit fraud, said institute Vice President Merle D. Sharick.

"Mortgage fraud used to be a crime of opportunity," he said. "Now it's a crime of necessity for people who are desperate to maintain lifestyles they became accustomed to" during the housing boom years.

The Internet is a key facilitator of their activities, Sharick said, with "dozens of sites" hawking fake income and employment verifications, tax filings, credit scores, deposit verifications and other forms of deception.

More here.


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