The number of suspicious activity reports grew 31% in 2011 when compared to 2010, according to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network.

Suspicious activity reports do not suggest a crime was actually committed, but the reports show how many potential fraud reports were filed by banks and financial firms.

In 2011, 92,028 mortgage loan fraud complaints were filed by financial institutions, up from 70,472 a year earlier, FinCEN said.

Even though more suspicious activity reports surfaced last year, the number of suspicious activity reports filed in the fourth quarter declined from the previous year.

“The FinCEN report shows we’re seeing financial institutions spotting activity that appears to be fraud before it happens and in the process, helping to prevent it,” said FinCEN director James Freis. “Even though we’re seeing the market work through its backlog of the book of business now in default, FinCEN data is revealing possible fraud that institutions are using to help defeat scammers.”

FinCEN also released data on states with the highest suspicious activity level reports per capita. The states with the most reports per capita included California, Hawaii, Florida, Nevada and the District of Columbia jurisdiction. 

FinCen reported earlier this year that SARs are now being accepted through electronic filing.

 “The BSA e-filing system will continue to accept submissions of the legacy reports until March 31, 2013,” the agency said. “Until then, financial institutions may choose to electronically file either the legacy or new reports, or any combination thereof.” 

kpanchuk@housingwire.com 

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