VIENNA, Va. (4/17/13)--The Distressed Homeowner Initiative, a program launched six months ago by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, resulted in 530 criminal defendants charged with involvement in a fraud scheme preying on distressed homeowners, reported Jennifer Shasky Calvery, director of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), addressing a mortgage fraud issues conference.
The defendants included 172 executives and the cases involved more than 73,000 homeowner victims, with total losses by those victims estimated at more than $1 billion, Shasky Calvery noted. The FBI initiative is intended to be a year-long project.
While the FBI generated new investigations by gathering victim complaint data from Federal Trade Commission databases and other sources--analyzing the data, and distributing information of lead value to field offices from coast-to-coast--another key tool for law enforcement were Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) filed by "alert financial institutions," Shasky Calvery pointed out.
"Critical to the investigation were 4,395 SARs reporting 'foreclosure rescue fraud.' These SARs were crucial to the law enforcement officials conducting these investigations," she said. Shasky Calvery went on to note that during 2011 and 2012, FinCEN saw dramatic growth in the number of SARs discussing "foreclosure rescue" scams in the narrative. In 2011, nearly 2,800 SARs indicated this activity, and in 2012, over 4,400 SARs reported this activity, she said.
The FinCEN director also discussed third-party payment processors, advanced analysis, and the universal SAR, and gave a regulatory update in her address to the Mortgage Bankers Association conference.
To read her remarks, use the resource link.