A nationwide mortgage fraud sweep, titled “Operation Stolen Dreams,” caught 485 criminals guilty of everything from property flipping, to equity skimming, according to Flipping Frenzy.
Since the project’s initiation on March 1, 2010, nearly $11 million has been recovered; while not close to the estimated losses of over $2 billion due to fraud schemes, the government hopes to continually make progress. Flipping Frenzy reported that the Bureau is currently pursuing over 3,000 cases, and over 330 convictions have been obtained.
For example, a motorcycle gang of Detroit offenders had developed a $130 million scheme, acting as mortgage brokers, appraisers, agents, and title agents to acquire approximately 500 mortgages on 180 properties.
“Mortgage fraud ruins lives, destroys families, and devastates whole communities,” Attorney General Eric Holder said at a press conference.
Twenty-three “hot spots” for mortgage fraud have been identified, including Florida, California, New York, and Texas; therefore, a task force has been designated for each spot.
“FBI agents and analysts are using intelligence, enhanced surveillance, and undercover operations to identify emerging trends and to find the key players behind large-scale fraud,” FBI Director Robert S. Mueller said to Flipping Frenzy.
From home buyers to lenders, mortgage fraud has had a resounding impact on the nation’s economy,” Mueller continued. “Those who prey on the housing market should know that hundreds of FBI agents on task forces and their law enforcement partners are tracking down your schemes, and you will be brought to justice.”