2011 Was Worst Year for Suspected Financial Crimes on Record

2011 Sees Record Year for Financial Fraud

In many cases, criminals targeted homeowners as they began filing foreclosure paperwork in local courts, combing through the filings to spot potential victims and then pretending to save them from having to foreclose, Gallagher said.

The fake companies marketed their scams through spam emails, often demanding upfront payments of $1,500 to $2,500 for help saving their homes, according to FBI data.

"A lot of these cases involve fraudulent use of the bankruptcy process to stall foreclosures," Gallagher said.

In addition to conning people in the middle of foreclosure filings, criminals made money by "flipping" houses they purchased improperly from banks, he said.

"This was more along the lines of individuals identifying houses they think they can get a short sale on, and then not disclosing to the bank the fact that there are higher offers out there. They get the bank to agree to a short sale and then flip the property for a higher price to the other bidders," Gallagher said.

Read: The End Of Check Fraud, ABC News' Investigative Report on Financial Crime

Gallagher said investigators are also seeing an uptick in money laundering as criminals who obtain money through illegal scams figure out how to funnel the money into various bank accounts.

"This is what banks are telling us: They've seen a rise in suspicious activity that appears to be money laundering," he said.

The number of financial crimes will likely start to trend back down, Novy said, as the fraud and other crimes uncovered during the recession begin to taper off.

"The prosecutions and investigations have really peaked at this point. I don't think they're going to get much larger than what they were in 2011, and a lot of this is beginning to wind down from what I can see," Novy said.

ABC News' Susannah Kim contributed to this report

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