The number of mortgage fraud cases prosecuted in the U.S. increased about 16% in the first quarter, compared to the fourth quarter of 2012, according to Mortgage Daily's quarterly Mortgage Fraud Index.
About 125 mortgage fraud cases were prosecuted on the federal, state and local level in the first quarter, up from the 105 cases prosecuted in the fourth quarter of last year.
Despite the recent increase, mortgage fraud remains low overall, according to Mortgage Daily. In fact, it is down by about 25% compared to the first quarter of 2012, when 171 cases were prosecuted.
The dollar amount of home loans involved in the cases increased to $1.4 billion in the first quarter, up from $1.3 billion in the fourth quarter, but a decrease from $1.8 billion in the first quarter of 2012.
The state with the most mortgage fraud activity was California, with 107 cases in the first quarter. In fact, California surpassed Florida in terms of total cases prosecuted in the first quarter. Florida had the highest number of cases prosecuted in the fourth quarter of 2012. Rounding out the top five states for mortgage fraud were New Jersey, Ohio and Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania had the largest dollar amount of mortgage fraud in the first quarter, at $226 million. This was due mainly to the prosecution of a huge $100 million case involving more than a dozen defendants. California and Florida had the second and third highest dollar amounts of fraud, respectively, for the first quarter.
To view the full First Quarter 2013 Mortgage Fraud Index report, click here.