Chicago Tops the Nation in Mortgage Fraud Risk

Not only does the city outrank all other metro areas in insurance fraud risk, one zip code in Englewood leads all others across the country. And it’s the same area that was the focus of a Tribune investigation into mortgage fraud… in 2005.

A new report from Interthinx has Chicago topping all US metropolitan areas in mortgage fraud risk (h/t Beachwood Reporter), just edging out Glendale, AZ. The report also says that the 60621 zip code is the riskiest in America, an impoverished section of Englewood where 20% of the population is at least 50% below the poverty line (almost half of the neighborhood’s residents are below the poverty line).

What’s happening? The Tribune (led by reporter David Jackson) did an outstanding series on mortgage fraud in south-side neighborhoods back in 2005. One of the stories, “How fraud became the nightmare on May Street,” looks at how con artists destroyed the 6100 block of South May–which is in 60621.

The other stories in the extensive series–“Home Invaders,” “Mortgage fraud is the thing to do now,” “With mortgage fraud, it’s catch ’em if you can”–are worth reading if you want to know more, especially the one about the Black Disciples’ involvement in mortgage schemes that might remind fans of The Wire of Season 3 (the best one).

Jackson’s story on crooked appraisers is also important. Keep in mind that this was 2005, before the real estate bubble burst and caused the recession/depression (deprecession?), when you read this: “The state Department of Financial and Professional Regulation had just one full-time appraiser investigator until last month, when he retired.”

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