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The FBI today launched of a new mortgage fraud task force for the Washington, D.C., area, the Washington Post reported.

More on the launch:

The FBI … [joins] a widening net of state and local investigators digging into the market crisis.

Investigators are seeking to uncover evidence of overvalued home appraisals, shoddy lending practices and alleged irregularities in the packaging and sale of groups of loans that were marketed to ordinary investors, state investment funds and big Wall Street banks.

I’d reported all sorts of numbers in our own mortgage fraud stories here and here, but here’s a new one from the Post:

FBI officials have opened 1,210 mortgage-related probes this year, said Sharon E. Ormsby, a section chief in the financial crimes section at the agency’s headquarters. Ormsby called the figure “an exponential increase” that reflects a rise in suspicious loans reported by financial institutions.

I did a quick Google search to find out, informally, how many similar task forces have been launched around the country. Looks like there’s one in Ohio, Florida, at least.

As for San Diego, where the feds just busted an operation based in San Marcos?

“We’re not there yet,” said Darrell Foxworth, spokesman for the local FBI.

KELLY BENNETT

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