Friday, August 23, 2013

Mortgage Fraud: Data Confirms Spike in 2006-2007

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) has released an analysis of Mortgage Fraud SAR Filings in Calendar Year 2012. The report was issued on August 20, 2013. This publication updates FinCEN’s prior Mortgage Loan Fraud (MLF) assessments examines Suspicious Activity Report (SAR) filings from January through December 2012 (CY 2012).
The report provides new information on the volume of SAR filings, geographic locations of subjects, and other filing trends in CY 2012. Tables covering non-geographic aspects are compared with filings from corresponding periods in2011. A section provides updated statistics on foreclosure rescue-related SARs during 2012, and filers’ voluntary use of the new FinCEN SAR e-filing report for voluntary mortgage fraud reporting through March 31, 2013.
This article offers an outline of the FinCEN report. Please visit our Library to download it.

MLF SAR Filings by Year SAR Received, 2001-2012
Mortgage Loan Fraud (MLF) SARs
Time Elapsed from Activity Date to Reporting Date
Number of Mortgage Loan Fraud SAR Filings by Year
with and without the Term “Repurchase” in Narrative
Mortgage Loan Fraud SAR Subjects - Top 20 States and Territories
Foreclosure Rescue Scams
Number of Mortgage Loan Fraud SAR Filings by Year
with Term “Foreclosure Rescue” in Narrative, 2003-2012

MLF SAR Filings by Year SAR Received, 2001-2012

FinCEN’s data on suspected mortgage fraud shows that reports declined 25% in 2012  (from 92,561 to 69,277) as compared to the previous year. The past three years of suspected mortgage fraud suspicious activity reports (MLF SARs), if counted by the date they were received by FinCEN, accounted for approximately 46% of the past decade’s mortgage fraud SARs.
We take this to mean that filing increases or decreases are not necessarily indicative of overall increases or decreases in MLF activities over a bracketed period, as the volume of SAR filings in any given period does not directly correlate to the number or timing of suspected fraudulent incidents in that period.
However, one of the inherent features of mortgage fraud is that the suspicious activity associated with it is often only recognized and reported years after loan origination, after a review of origination documents is prompted by a loan default, repurchase demand, or other factors. As a result, many mortgage fraud SARs are filed much later than the date that the suspicious activity actually began. Thus, in 2012, 57% of SARs reported mortgage loan fraud (MLF) activities that started more than 5 years before the SAR was filed.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Revolving Door Regulators

Senator yesterday. Lobbyist today.

Representative yesterday. CEO today.

Cabinet level appointee yesterday. Bank Chairperson today.

Government Agency Director yesterday. Law firm senior partner today.

CFPB Regulator yesterday. Competitor today.


The Inside-Outside Gambit
The Four Horsemen
A Business Model for Former Regulators
Partners in Business
Making a Market in Non-QM
What did they know, and when did they know it?
Extinguishing the Fire

The Inside-Outside Gambit

There are many forms of corruption. Perhaps the most pernicious is where an elected or duly appointed representative of the citizenry leaves office to use the sloughed off position for financial gain in the private sector.

Let's set up a definition for such (mostly unregulated) behavior. I will give it a phrase: "inside-outside gambits."

What is an inside-outside gambit? It is the use of information obtained in the course of a former governmental position by an official for financial gain, directly or indirectly, soon or immediately after leaving government employment in that position. Such information includes contacts with decision-makers in the government; providing information about proprietary conversations leading up to the promulgating of laws, rules, and regulations; access to insiders and knowledge of their views; navigating the systemic and organizational structure; non-public facts regarding the governmental plans or condition that could provide a financial advantage. Note that I use the phrase "inside-outside," not "insider trading."

I am not talking about a situation where there is the illegal trading of a public company's stock or other securities (such as bonds or stock options) by individuals with access to non-public information about the subject company (such trading being illegal).

However, the effect of “inside-outside gambit” and “insider trading” is practically the same: these strategies lead to an unfair, usually economic, advantage.

A basic concept of law is that an injury must be sustained by a plaintiff. Broadly speaking, no injury, no case.

So who is harmed when an equity trader uses inside information for personal financial benefit? The public, of course. Certainly, that part of the public that invests in the stock market, relying on rules, regulations, and laws to be impartially applied, with equal access to all. And who is harmed when a former government official uses inside information for personal financial benefit almost immediately after being employed in the government position. Of course, the public. Certainly, that part of the public that relies on rules, regulations, and laws to be impartially applied, with equal access to all.

How about when regulators in the most powerful agency that regulates the origination of residential mortgage loans, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), leave that agency and start a mortgage company soon after leaving the CFPB, to compete or partner with mortgage companies?