Calling mortgage fraud "one of the fastest-growing white-collar crimes" in the United States, the government said the number of pending cases rose 35% in fiscal 2005, to 721.According to figures released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation on Dec. 14, fraud-related losses totaled $1.01 billion in 2005, more than doubling from the year before. The FBI and several other agencies are working together to combat mortgage fraud -- particularly land flips -- by targeting what it calls "mortgage fraud groups." In a statement, the FBI repeated earlier allegations that industry professionals play an integral role in mortgage fraud, particularly in regard to appraisals and loan underwriting.

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