When it comes to financial fraud in Canada, mortgage fraud is the most
prevalent. According to Equifax, this made up for two-thirds ($400M) of
the estimated dollar amount of monetary fraud in 2011.
fraud happens when an applicant lies about his/her financial situation
by altering personal documents. These documents can include notice of
assessments, job letters and pay stubs. There are many services out
there that will alter your government tax slips for a fee. This results
in scenarios like this: Someone with a spotty job record suddenly makes
$200,000 per year. Or someone who just purchased a 3,000 square foot
detached home as owner-occupied buys a small downtown condo as another
First-party mortgage fraud is surprisingly very common — with lenders losing an estimated $1.6-million per day in Canada.
Several years ago, a study was conducted in the U.K. The Financial
Services Authority found that many smaller mortgage brokers were aware
that some kind of application fraud was taking place. Yet only 41%
actually verified applicants’ income and only 11% obtained evidence of
the source of applicants’ wealth. Because the brokerage industry is so
heavily commission-based, many representatives do not want to turn away a
As devastating as mortgage fraud seems on the surface, financial
experts say police do not take it very seriously. Money laundering and
the exchange of counterfeit bills are often considered a more serious
threat than first-party mortgage fraud. It is this attitude by Canadian
officials that allow unethical applicants to obtain loans
illegitimately, making things harder for the rest of us who remain
honest and diligent about our financial situation.
problem with mortgage fraud is that it can lead to other criminal
activity, particularly within organized crime rings.
Illegitimately-obtained loans are often used to facilitate marijuana
grow operations and other drug laboratories. Criminals will also use the
mortgage to purchase properties for the enslavement of people, fuelling
the prostitution trade.
Unless officials take more action to
curb mortgage fraud in Canada, we can only expect the practice to become
more popular. An unstable economy coupled with tighter mortgage rules
means more and more homeowners are finding it harder to obtain a loan.
It is under these types of circumstances that fraudulent behaviour
Equifax says mortgage fraud is on an upward trend with no
signs of slowing down. Banks and brokerages also need to be firm about
the consequences for employees who turn a blind eye to fraudulent