Baltimore City Paper

Mortgage Fraud Pays

The Sarasota Herald Tribune

has done a story we'd like to see (or do, if we had the time and money) here in Maryland and around the country, though it's arguably three years late. (HT



, a year in the making, analyzed 19 million transactions looking for signs of mortgage fraud. To make things conservative (too conservative, according to one of their experts), the paper deemed suspicious only deals in which a house sold twice in 90 days or less, increasing in price by at least 30 percent. The conclusion:




The shocker that isn't:

The paper's

was a decorated real estate agent who is now working for a company that allegedly helps people modify their mortgages.

There's much more, including a long-overlooked examination of the phenomenon—noted


and very few other places—of groups of related "investors"


for ever-greater prices, even in a sinking market.