Maryland: Fifth for mortgage fraud
Maryland ranked fifth in the country for reported mortgage fraud last year, the Mortgage Asset Research Institute said this afternoon. The report -- made to the Mortgage Bankers Association -- said fraud is worst in Rhode Island, followed by Florida, Illinois and Georgia.
Rounding out the top 10:
6. New York
The institute bases its rankings on a state's share of U.S. mortgage fraud compared with its share of U.S. mortgages originated last year.
The most common problem is application fraud, according to the report. Fraudulent tax returns and financial statements were also high on the list.
Maryland's ranking is a big change for the state, which came in 15th in 2007, 16th in 2006 and in the high 20s the previous two years.
Fraud used to be lower than you'd expect for the number of loans processed in Maryland, the institute said. But last year, Maryland's share of U.S. mortgage fraud was 70 percent higher than its share of new mortgages.
In a press release, Mortgage Bankers Association chief John Courson said the data "shows that mortgage fraud is more prevalent today than it was at the height of the boom in mortgage loan originations." Why? The report authors blamed "desperation" and opportunity.