Washington (AP) -- Falling housing prices are driving up reports of mortgage fraud.
The FBI says reported losses are up 83 percent last year and climbing even higher in 2009.
Ohio is one of the states where FBI investigators have been busiest.
In its new 2008 mortgage fraud report, the Bureau says the downturn in the economy, a spike in foreclosures and defaults and diminishing credit availability "fueled a rampant mortgage fraud climate."
The FBI says victims include borrowers, the mortgage industry and neighbors who ultimately lose housing value.
Nearly two-thirds of the pending FBI mortgage fraud investigations last year involved losses of more than $1 million.
The states with the most FBI investigations are California, Illinois, Texas, Georgia and Ohio.
(Copyright 2009 by the Associated Press. All rights reserved.)
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