Federal law enforcement officials in Nevada are launching a major offensive against mortgage fraud, with the FBI preparing hundreds of complex cases for prosecution against operators who have preyed on Las Vegas' still-staggering boom-and-bust real estate market, reports the Las Vegas Sun. A special mortgage fraud squad is assembling evidence in 300 cases, many of them involving a million dollars or more in ill-gotten gains. Agents have identified about 500 people connected to some 85 illegal organizations who lied on loan applications or manipulated financial documents to defraud lending institutions and property owners.
One FBI agent said the cases are “mushrooming fast.” He compared them to complex drug investigations where “we talk to one person and flip him, and that leads us deeper into these operations.” Asked to describe the magnitude of the investigations, he said, “We have cases with a lot of fingers going in a lot of directions. It's beginning to be like shooting fish in a barrel.”