Mortgage fraud continued to increase in financial institutions, according to data released Thursday by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network.

Fincen, an arm of Treasury Department, said that in the third quarter of 2009 depository institutions filed 15,697 suspicious activity reports related to mortgage fraud, 7.5% more than in the comparable period a year earlier.

"In fighting mortgage related-fraud, it is particularly clear that our interests are closely aligned," Fincen Director Jim Freis said at a Florida International Bankers Association conference in Miami. "Banks want to avoid a credit loss on a fraudulently obtained loan, and law enforcement wants to deter and hold accountable those who seek to criminally abuse institutions and their customers."

The data showed those SARs were more likely reports from older fraud activities occurring during the financial crisis.

Of the mortgage fraud SARs, 75% were from activities older than a year and more than half were from activities two years prior.

Reviews found that loan modifications have led to the discovery of this older fraud.

Mortgage fraud SARs were most prominent in California, Florida, New York, Illinois and Georgia.

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