The Real Deal Miami

National sweep finds South Florida fraudsters

June 20, 2008 12:35PM

A wide federal sweep that resulted in dozens of arrests for alleged mortgage fraud turned up 22 people in South Florida. U.S. Attorney Alex Acosta said such fraud is an epidemic, and has contributed to rising property values in previous years by artificially inflating demand, but it is now driving down housing prices as borrowers default on loans they lied to obtain. Since September 2007, more than 100 South Floridians have been charged in mortgage fraud cases involving $131 million, he said. Those indicted include mortgage brokers, title agents, real estate appraisers, bank employees and other industry insiders.