Suspected mortgage fraud is on the decline, according to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network.
Reports of suspected fraud received by the regulator fell by 25% last year, to just under 70,000, according to Fincen's report on fraud filings for 2012, released Tuesday. It was the first year in the survey's history that fraud reports fell, after growing every year from 2001 to 2011.
The drop followed an "unusual spike" in fraud reports in 2011, due in part to the mortgage reviews conducted by large banks that year, Fincen said.
The biggest crop of suspected frauds was associated with loans originated in the years immediately before the financial crisis. An "extraordinary concentration" of suspected fraudulent mortgages were originated in 2006 and 2007 more than 137,000 in each year, compared with just under 10,000 in 2012, the report notes.
It often takes several years to identify and report possible mortgage frauds, however. Fifty-seven percent of suspected frauds are reported five or more years after the loans were originated, the report says.
California, Florida and New York were the states with the most suspected mortgage frauds in 2012. California, Nevada and Florida were the three highest in number of fraud filings per person.
Fincen announced a reorganization in June designed to improve its anti-money laundering and counterterrorism operations.