Mortgage Fraud Rose Sharply in 2009, Data Shows

Mortgage fraud rose sharply last year after steep declines in the two previous years as the real estate market crashed, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Losses from mortgage fraud, ranging from identity theft to falsified credit reports, surged 17% in 2009 from a year earlier, The Wall Street Journal said, citing data prepared by research company CoreLogic.

Last year, $14 billion worth of loans, or roughly 0.7% of all mortgage loans made in the U.S., were originated with some kind of fraudulent application data.

In June, the FBI indicted an Arizona man for allegedly trying to steal a house from his landlord. In another case in June, federal prosecutors in New Jersey charged 29 people with wire fraud in an alleged scheme that involved 17 properties and losses of $5.5 million.

"Even though we have certain compliance measures in place, people will adapt whatever scheme," Sharon Ormsby, the FBI's section chief for financial crimes, told The Wall Street Journal. "It doesn't matter if the market is going up or down."

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