The latest statistics from the Federal Bureau of Investigation confirm that mortgage fraud is on the upswing."We can't find a chart that doesn't show up in a big way," Special Agent Bill Stern said at SourceMedia's Mortgage Fraud Conference in Las Vegas. In even worse news, the FBI's mortgage fraud coordinator in Washington said the trend is moving away from rogue individuals who pull off the scams and toward members of organized crime. "Mortgage fraud is now a criminal enterprise that puts dollars in the hands of people who also are involved in such other crimes as drugs, murders, and gangs," he told the conference. As of early December, the number of suspicious activity reports concerning mortgage fraud is up 62%, from 21,994 to 35,617. Also up are the number of pending cases, the number of charges and convictions, and the amount of cases in which losses against financial institutions, the government and individuals exceed $1 million, "We are now prosecuting new cases at the rate of one a day," the G-man told the conference. As of the first week of December, he reported, 54% of the losses attributed to mortgage fraud were more than $1 million. Noting that the FBI must focus on these larger cases because it doesn't have the resources to pursue every suspect, Mr. Stern called on the mortgage business to work hand-in-hand with law enforcement officials at the state and federal levels "so we can leverage off your expertise."

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