Mortgage fraud has increasingly become a focus of prosecutors in Florida. This focus will likely become stronger as the state continues to get its name in the news in connection with this type of fraud. An example of such news is a recent study which named Florida one of the highest risk places for mortgage fraud.
Recently, a company named Interthinx released a report regarding mortgage fraud. In particular, it focused on which areas of the country have the highest risk of such fraud. The study determined risk based on data compiled on mortgages in different regions. The researchers admit that this model only detects risk, not actual incidences of fraud.
Florida ranked very high in mortgage fraud risk according to the study. The study named Florida one of the top five states for mortgage fraud risk. Additionally, locations within Florida ranked high when risk was broken down by city. The study claimed that the Cape Coral-Fort Myers area was one of the top ten cities for mortgage fraud risk.
The researchers behind the study gave many reasons as to why they think Florida ranks so high. Some of the factors that they believe contribute to a high risk rate include high occurrence of foreclosures, high occurrence of unemployment and fluctuating property values.
Miami did not escape mention in the study. The study found that Miami was one of the top five cites for risk rate related to mortgage identity fraud. The researchers claimed that this indicated a high presence of organized crime related mortgage fraud in the city.
The biggest ramification of this study is that it will increase scrutiny regarding mortgage fraud in the state. As more negative publicity occurs connected to mortgage fraud, politicians and prosecutors will be more inclined to make these white collar crimes a priority. Thus, it is likely that Florida will see an increase in the enforcement and prosecution of mortgage fraud.
Source: Boston Globe, “Hot spots for mortgage fraud risk,” (Article no longer available online) Steve Bergsman, 18 Nov 2010