Mortgage fraud in Maryland
Nope. Mortgage fraudsters will always find a way.
That's the lesson of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's newest Mortgage Fraud Report, which notes that the crime "continued to be an escalating problem in the United States during 2008." The FBI lists Maryland as one of the "top 10 mortgage fraud states" last year.
The problem ranges from people fudging numbers so they can buy a home -- the "crime? what crime?" folks -- to sophisticated thieves using faked documents to grab loan money and run.
The FBI warns that FHA loans, used to devastating effect in Baltimore flipping scams about 10 years ago, offer opportunities for today's crooks. And the housing slump is hardly a deterrent:
Multiple fraud schemes are being conducted by industry professionals who are in a position to exploit the current depressed housing market. Market conditions are also fueling the use of traditional and emerging schemes which have the potential to multiply across jurisdictions as foreclosures increase, the market contracts, access to credit diminishes, and more homeowners are unable to sell or refinance their homes. Properties affected by these schemes negatively impact neighborhoods; federally insured loan programs; the mortgage, banking, and securities industries; secondary market investors; tax payers; homeowners; and the overall US economy.