- The Washington Times - Monday, March 16, 2009

WASHINGTON (AP) - A mortgage industry group says there were a record number of mortgage fraud incidents last year, and Rhode Island made its first appearance as the nation’s top fraud hot spot.

The number of mortgage fraud reports among loans made last year grew 26 percent from a year earlier, says a study released Monday by the Mortgage Asset Research Institute.

The increase came as banks stepped up their scrutiny of lending practices after a tidal wave of defaults.

The recession has increased pressure on shady mortgage lenders, brokers and borrowers to lie on loan applications, the report said.

Rounding out the top five states were Florida, Illinois, Georgia and Maryland.

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