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The Champion

September/October 2007 , Page 14 

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Mortage Fraud Boot Camp: Basic Training on Defending a Criminal Mortage Fraud Case

By Holly A. Pierson

Mortgage fraud has become part of the American lexicon.1 The precise scope of the mortgage fraud problem is unknown, but all indications are that it is massive and on the rise.2 A Westlaw search for newspaper articles with the phrase “mortgage fraud” in the headline or lead paragraph since January 1, 2007, for example, yielded 633 results.

Suspicious activity reports (“SARs”) pertaining to mortgage fraud increased by over 1,000 percent between 1997 and 2005.3 Pending FBI mortgage fraud investigations jumped from 436 cases in fiscal year 2002 to 1,036 cases in March 2007.4 

Estimated losses due to mortgage fraud in 2006 alone are between $946 million and $4.2 billion, and the expected losses associated with over half of the FBI’s currently pending cases exceed $1 million each.5 Industry experts and investigators have attributed the dramatic increase in mortgage fraud to a confluence of many factors, including the lure of very lucrative schemes,6 the relaxation of lender

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