On February 25, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), a bureau of the U.S. Treasury Department, released its latest mortgage fraud analysis entitled Filing Trends in Mortgage Loan Fraud.

Among other things, this report outlines a 44% increase in the filing of suspicious activity reports (SARs) by financial institutions in the 12 months ending June 2008 as compared with the prior year. In total, from July 1, 2007, through June 30, 2008, the number of SARs filed by financial institutions reporting mortgage loan fraud totaled 62,084, up from 43,053 reported between July 1, 2006, and June 30, 2007. In total, nearly 900 filing institutions filed SARs that detailed suspected mortgage fraud.  

The 62,084 filings by financial institutions related to suspected mortgage loan fraud represent 9% of all depository institution SARs filed during the relevant period. The report also notes that, in the last two years FinCEN has conducted this review, mortgage loan fraud was the third most reported activity characterization, with the general category of Bank Secrecy Act/structuring/money laundering characterizations being first and check fraud characterizations being second.