Friday, November 28, 2008

Feds break up major home equity loan theft ring

Brian Krebs reports in The Washington Post that the FBI and federal prosecutors have broken through an international identity theft ring that tapped into home equity loan lines. It’s rather odd that this scam could have worked during a time of declining home values and upsidedown mortgages. However, criminals went to public records to find people with healthy mortgages in order to tap them. Then they went through elaborate technical ruses to conceal their identities and tap banker money. Even so, it is surprising that financial institutions didn’t catch this. Much of it may have happened before the real estate crash accelerated into the mess that it has become today. The incidents probably reflect the pressure (the “always be closing” mentality) on employees of financial institutions to sell deals.

The very detailed story is on p E10 of the Nov. 28, 2008 Washington Post, link here.

The incident certainly reminds one of the dangers inherent in placing public records on the Internet.

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