All of the sudden, mortgage fraud seems to be one of the hottest crimes in Missouri. Mortgage fraud cases include big money and occasionally a big name–former Jackson County Executive Katheryn Shields, for one.

State insurance director Doug Ommen says the tightening real estate market might be one causes for the increased number of cases. He says some of the higher-end homes are not moving because of a tighter real estate market and some people decide to cheat to move the property.  Missouri ranks sixth in the nation in mortgage fraud cases.

Ommen is forming an internal department task force to attack the issue. The group is being drawn from the Divisions of Finance and Insurance Consumer Affairs, as well as people from the Real Estate and Real Estate Appraisers Commissions. Ommen says the task force is to find ways to keep consumers from being stripped of their equity or facing foreclosure…

A bill has been introduced in the state senate toughening penalties for mortgage fraud. Ommen says his department is solidly behind that effort.

download Bob Priddy’s story (:61 mp3)