WASHINGTON (6/29/11)--The total number of mortgage loan fraud-related suspicious activity reports (SARs) filed in the first quarter of 2011 increased by 31% when compared to the first quarter of 2010, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) reported in its first quarter update for 2011. FinCEN in its Tuesday release said that the increase is due to “large mortgage lenders conducting additional reviews after receiving demands to repurchase poorly performing mortgage loans.” Over 80% of the mortgage-related SARs related to amounts of $500,000 or less. FinCEN also reported on federal mortgage assistance-related fraud cases, which often involve falsified income, employment, occupancy numbers, or Social Security numbers. Around 230 of these types of SARs were reported each month, with those SARs totaling $73 million in funds. FinCEN Director James Freis said “a substantial majority of reports involved activities that occurred in 2006-2007,” and added that this shows that “the industry is slowly making its way through the most problematic mortgages.” The report covers reports filed between the beginning of this year and the end of March. The agency received a total of 25,485 SARs during this time period, and the total number of SARs filed increased by 10% over the total reported in the first quarter of 2010. California, Nevada and North Carolina reported the most SARs per capita. Los Angeles, Calif., New York, N.Y., Chicago, Ill., and Miami, Fla. had the highest amounts of SARs among the 50 most populous metropolitan areas. For the full release, use the resource link.