HELL YES! Despite law enforcements best efforts, it turns out Miami is still number one for mortgage fraud! From today's Miami Herald...
South Florida's still a national leader in mortgage fraudSouth Florida's mortgage market had the nation's highest number of suspicious activity reports in the third quarter of 2010, according to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network's third-quarter mortgage fraud report released Thursday. Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties logged 3,039 reports of questionable mortgage loan activity between July and September, about 33 per day, and more than any other metropolitan area in the nation. Florida's 5,404 suspicious activity reports, or SARs, during that time period ranked it second in the nation, behind California. On a per capita basis, Florida ranks ahead of California.
Miami-Dade County had the lion's share of South Florida's fraud reports, with 1,784 in the third quarter, second only to Los Angeles County, which had 1,967.
Jonathan Heller, a Miami defense lawyer defending a client who he believes was a victim of mortgage fraud, said he is not surprised by South Florida's ranking.
``When you have mortgage brokers who are unsavory, who are fueled by irresponsible lenders, it's like the perfect storm,'' he said.
Nationwide, there were 16,693 suspicious activity reports in the third quarter of 2010, up 2 percent from the same period in 2009. Florida was responsible for 32.3 percent of the nation's mortgage loan fraud reports that quarter, the report found.
The top types of mortgage fraud reported were false statements, debt elimination scams, identity theft and money laundering.
Most reports of mortgage loan fraud occur more than two years after the original loan was made. Of Miami-Dade's 1,784 reports logged in the third quarter of last year, only 404 involved loans made after Jan. 1, 2008.
That is consistent with the national trend, as those reporting fraud are focusing more on older incidents.
In the third quarter, 76 percent of SARs occurred before 2008, compared to 54 percent in 2009.
That's great to know isn't it? Meanwhile back in the Magic City our Mayor believes that there are men in black SUV's following him and one of the commissioners around...
Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado said Thursday he believes he and a city commissioner are under surveillance by the city's police department, taking the battle between the mayor and the police chief to a new level.And just when you thought the streets were safe, our local state attorneys office files charges against another cop with a penchant for fraud. It most be something in the water down here...
Regalado and Commissioner Richard P. Dunn II -- the two most outspoken critics of Chief Miguel Exposito -- said they had been told by ``credible'' law enforcement sources that Miami police officers have been tailing them. Twice in the past two weeks, Regalado said, he has noticed cars in front of his home that he didn't recognize, but which left as soon as he opened the front door.
``I just feel very threatened,'' Regalado said. The mayor said he's been warned by officers loyal to him in the police department that he was being followed, though he would not identify them.