Mortgage fraud surges in Maryland

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Mortgage fraud in Maryland more than doubled last year, according to a study released by the Mortgage Asset Research Institute.

The study uses a mortgage fraud index (MFI) that quantifies fraud based on an expected value of 100. Maryland’s score of 170 suggests it had 70 percent more fraud than researches expected, based on loan origination volume in the state.

The research reveals an explosion of fraud last year in Maryland, which ranked fifth nationwide for fraud. By contrast, the state’s index score was 70 in 2007, 67 in 2006 and 47 in 2005.

Data for the District of Columbia and Virginia were not available, as neither region was in the top 10.

The nationwide research “reveals that fraud incidence is at an all-time high and is comprised of continuing application misrepresentations and multiple verification-oriented issues,” the report said.

The rise in fraud comes amid declining loan originations, suggesting “new times of desperation. Industry expertise and technological advancements, when mixed with desperate people and opportunities, are catalysts for the continuation and growth of fraud,” the report said.

The study is based on data collected from a cooperative mortgage fraud database operated by the Mortgage Asset Research Institute, which contains information about licensing, public sanctions and incidents of alleged fraud reported by database subscribers.

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