The growing prevalence of mortgage loan fraud is being met by greater success on the part of the financial community at intercepting the fraud before loans are funded. A Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) report said the number of suspicious activity reports (SARs) relating to mortgage fraud increased 42% from 37,313 in 2006 to 52,868 in 2007 (FinCEN’s year-over-year data is tracked from April 1 through March 31).

In the same period, the suspected fraud was detected prior to loan funding in 31% of all cases resulting in SARs, up from 21% the previous year—an increase of almost 50%.

“This exemplifies how compliance with Bank Secrecy Act regulations is consistent with a financial institution’s commercial concerns,” said FinCEN Director James Freis in a press release.

The most common type of mortgage fraud was misrepresentation of income, assets and debt (43%). Identity theft in conjunction with mortgage fraud, though a small portion of all cases of mortgage fraud (3.45%), increased 96% in 2007.

The report, Mortgage Loan Fraud , is available at .



Year-end tax planning and what’s new for 2016

Practitioners need to consider several tax planning opportunities to review with their clients before the end of the year. This report offers strategies for individuals and businesses, as well as recent federal tax law changes affecting this year’s tax returns.


News quiz: Retirement planning, tax practice, and fraud risk

Recent reports focused on a survey that gauges the worries about retirement among CPA financial planners’ clients, a suit that affects tax practitioners, and a guide that offers advice on fraud risk. See how much you know with this short quiz.


Bolster your data defenses

As you weather the dog days of summer, it’s a good time to make sure your cybersecurity structure can stand up to the heat of external and internal threats. Here are six steps to help shore up your systems.