A study was conducted to provide insight into the breadth and depth of mortgage fraud crimes perpetrated against the United States and its citizens during 2010. This report updates the 2009 Mortgage Fraud Report and addresses current mortgage fraud projections, issues, and the identification of mortgage fraud “hot spots.”
The objective of this study is to provide FBI program managers and the general public with relevant data to better understand the threat posed by mortgage fraud. The report was requested by the Financial Crimes Section, Criminal Investigative Division (CID), and prepared by the Financial Crimes Intelligence Unit (FCIU), Directorate of Intelligence (DI).
This report is based on FBI; federal, state, and local law enforcement; mortgage industry; and open-source reporting. Information was also provided by other government agencies, including the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development-Office of Inspector General (HUD-OIG), the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae), the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac), and the U.S. Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). Industry reporting was obtained from LexisNexis, Mortgage Asset Research Institute (MARI), RealtyTrac, Inc., Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), Interthinx, and CoreLogic. Some industry reporting was acquired through open sources.
While the FBI has high confidence in all of these sources, some inconsistencies relative to the cataloging of statistics by some organizations are noted. For example, suspicious activity reports (SARs) are cataloged according to the year in which they are submitted, but the information contained within them may describe activity that occurred in previous months or years. The geographic specificity of industry reporting varies, as some companies report at the ZIP code level and others by city, region, or state. Many of the statistics provided by the external sources, including FinCEN, FHA, and HUD-OIG, are captured by fiscal year (FY); however, this report focuses on the calendar year findings as reported by mortgage industry and economic data sources. Additionally, there are also variances in the reporting of fraud depending on who the victim is (either a financial institution or a homeowner). While these discrepancies have minimal impact on the overall findings stated in this report, we have noted specific instances in the text where they may affect conclusions.
See Appendix A for additional information for these sources.
Geospatial maps were provided by the Crime Analysis Research and Development Unit, Criminal Justice Information Services Division.