WASHINGTON — An increase in suspected mortgage fraud at banks and thrifts helped push suspicious activity report filings by financial institutions to a record last year, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network said Tuesday.

Mortgage fraud filings jumped 23%, to 64,816 in 2008, and helped boost overall SAR filings by 13%, to 732,563. Fincen attributed half of the yearly total increase to fraud filings, including mortgage fraud, credit card fraud and commercial loan fraud. "SAR data continue to provide an overview of our financial fraud climate," Fincen Director Jim Freis said.

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