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Three SF counties among top areas in U.S. for suspicious mortgage activity

October 05, 2011 03:48PM

Palm Beach County skyrocketed up the ranks of U.S. counties with suspicious mortgage activity, according to a recent report from the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, and now owns the sixth spot on the list after coming in 31st during the first quarter. The Sun-Sentinel reported that Broward and Miami-Dade counties also placed in the top 10 this quarter, at eighth and ninth, respectively.

Lenders help the agency compile the list, by noting them when they encounter dubious mortgages. Nationwide, there was an 88 percent uptick in suspect loans, thanks in part to the increased attention paid to underwriting standards. In the first half of this year there were 55,043 suspicious mortgages reported, compared to 70,472 all of last year. Florida only ranked behind California in terms of most suspicious activity per capita.

Analysts say dubious activity was especially prevalent in Florida because developers were desperate to find buyers to fill out all of the new construction in the area. An increase in mortgage-fraud prosecution should follow this report, they said. [Sun-Sentinel]