The nation's top cops are more willing than ever to chase down perpetrators of mortgage fraud, but they would like a little more help from their friends in housing finance, according to a key FBI official.Derek Siegle, assistant chief in the agency's Financial Crimes Section, said it would speed investigations if lenders had a good idea what detectives were looking for and had it "all organized" and ready to hand over when the G-men came knocking. Such a step "would save thousands of hours wading through numerous documents," he said at the Mortgage Bankers Association's annual convention in Orlando, Fla. The FBI also needs a list of contacts at each company, he said, persons it can call on so it can locate victims and get them their share of the restitution that convicted criminals are often required to pay. Special Agent Siegle said that although the number of suspicious activity reports were up from 17,000 in fiscal year 2004 to almost 22,000 in fiscal 2005, the number of indictments is down, largely because his unit is investigating larger cases that take more time. But, he added, the agency looks at every case individually. "If the U.S. attorney is willing to prosecute, we'll investigate," he said, even if the suspect is a single applicant as opposed to an organized group of scam artists.

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