BOSTON -- (April 3, 2007) -- The Federal
Bureau of Investigation and the Mortgage Bankers Association
(MBA) have recently added to their joint efforts against
mortgage fraud. Robert Siciliano, a widely televised and
quoted personal security and identity theft expert, encouraged
their cooperation and pressed for more action. According
to Siciliano, identity thieves can be behind the most devastating
instances of mortgage fraud.
"The most devastating instances of mortgage fraud
are mixed with identity theft," said Siciliano. "Imagine
not only having to beware of questionable mortgage lenders,
but of someone else getting a home in your name. I encourage
law enforcement agencies and the banking industry to take
as much action as possible."
President of IDTheftSecurity.com (www.idtheftsecurity.com),
Siciliano leads Fortune 500 companies and their clients
in workshops that explore consumer education solutions
for data security issues. On its Web site, the Privacy
Learning Institute has featured Siciliano, a longtime
identity theft speaker. Author of "The Safety Minute:
01," He has discussed identity theft and data security
on CNBC, on NBC's "Today Show," FOX News, and
In response to a near doubling of yearly mortgage fraud–related
Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) since 2004, the FBI
and the MBA entered into an agreement to combat Mortgage
Fraud. According to a March 8th news release, the law
enforcement agency and lending association will make a
Mortgage Fraud Warning Notice available.
Mortgage fraud received much attention in March:
• On March 29th, the Associated Press reported
that Beazer Homes USA Inc. had "received a grand
jury subpoena for documents as part of a federal investigation
of possible fraud in the company's mortgage lending practices
and other financial transactions."
• A report to be released in April by the Mortgage
Asset Research Institute is expected to show increases
in mortgage fraud across the nation. According to a March
28th article in The Salt Lake Tribune, the report will
rank Utah as No. 1 in mortgage fraud for 2006 (the year
the report analyzes).
• The March 28th edition of the Boston Herald reported
statements from the Massachusetts Attorney General Martha
Coakley. Under existing laws in the state, lenders that
are not banks commit only a civil offense with mortgage
fraud. The AG's proposal, if adopted, would subject these
lenders to criminal charges for a widespread form of the
• A March 13th article in The Sun News reported
that South Carolina's Department of Consumer Affairs has
called for a "crackdown on mortgage fraud."
"These and other efforts to put a stop to mortgage
fraud are commendable," concluded Siciliano. "But
we must take more action. The prevalence of identity theft
makes recent increases in the filing of SARs all the more
worrisome. We must track down, and shut down, not only
mortgage fraudsters, but identity thieves. The last thing
we want is for the two to exploit their synergies."