The Mortgage Asset Research Institute -- known as MARI to most in the industry, and a subsidiary of data services firm ChoicePoint -- said on Monday that it has launched a new service called the Loan Fraud Alert Service (LFAS). MARI LFAS is a mortgage industry-contributed loan process database that targets the identification of potential application risk, as well as finding established patterns of fraud and hidden relationships among transaction parties. The idea behind LFAS is to provide lenders with a total view of a borrower's pending application activity, spanning across multiple lending institutions. "Fraudsters are taking advantage of the fact that some lenders do not have the capability to compare the details of all pending transactions," said Tom Chmielewski, ChoicePoint vice president of product marketing. "By incorporating LFAS into their business solutions, lenders will now have the ability to compare that data against other contributing lenders' loan data." MARI said LFAS can identify problematic trends including multiple closings for a single borrower, undisclosed second escrows or mortgages for the same property, inflated appraisals for the same property within a short period of time and multiple loan applications for the same property. The comparison helps recognize application inconsistencies and common patterns that may be indicative of fraudulent activity, Chmielewski said. "MARI's Loan Fraud Alert Service gives lenders the ability to better know who they are doing business with, and now they can use this information to identify potentially fraudulent relationships between vendors and customers," said Merle Sharick, vice president and national manager of business development for MARI. For more information, visit