If you harbored any notion that the current economic crisis would somehow bring out the best in people–as we all come together like one of those old, warm and fuzzy “I’d like to buy the world a Coke” commercials, I’m afraid I have some very bad news for you. Well, actually, the FBI has the bad news, but I will pass it along.
A few days ago, FBI director Robert Mueller told the Senate Judiciary Committee that mortgage fraud cases that are being investigated by his agency are up roughly 63% just from a year ago! That’s sixty-three percent!!!!!
“The scheme have evolved with the changing economy, targeting vulnerable individuals, victimizing them even as they are about to lose their homes, ” said Mueller, as quoted in a New York Daily News article.
In case you’re wondering, in real numbers, we are talking about more than 2,600 cases of alleged mortgage fraud being seriously looked at.
The Six Billion Dollar A Year Scheme
According to the FBI’s website, the estimated annual losses in the U.S. for all types of mortgage fraud now tops at nearly $6 billion.
And, while the agency has helped convict more than 354 people last year for mortgage fraud, clearly lots of folks are getting away with it and probably always will!
In 2008, according to the FBI, the states with the most “significant mortgage fraud problems” were: Rhode Island, Florida, Illinois, Georgia, Maryland, New York, Michigan, California, Missouri and Colorado, in that order.
A Controversial Proposal
Since this is a nation that seems to largely get its rocks off by imposing the death penalty (Texas–YOU’RE number one! Congrats!!!) I offer this proposal–controversial though it may be–that I believe would radically and quickly reduce the mortgage fraud rate in this country down to zero……or less!
Let’s take a page from our friends in China. There, a conviction for massive real estate related fraud could lead to the death penalty. Justice is clean (sort of), swift and, most of all, certain!
People committing mortgage fraud in these economic times are guilty of crimes against the most vulnerable among us (well, next to big banks, that is! ) and anything short of the death penalty, I contend, is just a slap on the wrist.
Now, if we go just one step further and impose the death penalty on executives at financial institutions who think it is cool to give mortgages to people who could never in a million years pay them off, I believe we could produce in this country something I like to call, negative mortgage fraud–or NMF for short.
I know some of you more weak in the knee types out there will say: Hold on there! Won’t we , at times, execute innocent people???
Damn right we will! But this country has been doing that for ages and it hasn’t exactly caused any revolutionary angst, now has it?