Mortgage fraud jumped by 26 percent last year even though fewer loans were issued nationwide, and Maryland ranked among the top five states with the most serious problems, according to an industry study released yesterday.

The study by the Mortgage Asset Research Institute concluded that fraud is more prevalent than it was at the height of the lending boom. The group singled out the most troubled states based on cases it gathered from roughly 600 lenders, mortgage insurance firms and mortgage investors, as well as federal data on loan originations.

Rhode Island topped the list, followed by Florida, which had held the No. 1 slot in 2007. Incidents of fraud in Rhode Island were three times what would have been expected given the number of loans made last year, the report said, although the authors said they weren’t sure why.

Source: Washington Post