There is no way to rank the frequency with which fraudulent real estate transactions occur. The Mortgage Fraud Index tries to get a sense of how often this is occurring by tracking the volume of criminal cases in a given jurisdiction. A poor placement on the ranking could be a sign of zealous law enforcement and heavy prosecution as much as a sign that the practice is common. Florida again ranks as the worst state in the Mortgage Fraud Index, indicating that there are more criminal cases against people charged with mortgage fraud than in other states.

Mortgage fraud criminal actions tend to be high in areas where the foreclosure explosion has hit hardest. California, Arizona and Florida have seen massive foreclosures as the result of the housing market crash. In an effort to recoup some of the money lost, banks and state officials in those states may work extra hard to uncover fraudulent or improper real estate transactions.

Florida has now sat atop the rankings for four of the last five quarters. It has rarely left the top five states since the inception of the index several years ago. Florida has an active and experienced group of prosecutors and law enforcement officials who are dedicated solely to catching and prosecuting people for mortgage fraud. If you have been charged or are being investigated for mortgage fraud, you need an experienced defense attorney to protect your rights.

Source: Market Watch, “Florida Worst State in Mortgage Fraud Index,” 25 June 2012

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