Off Beat: Fraud for fun and profit
If you're looking for a good place to commit mortgage fraud, Yuba-Sutter may be the place for you.
Strange as it may sound, the Yuba City metro area — Yuba and Sutter counties — ranked very high on a recent mortgage fraud index.
Interthinx, which apparently keeps track of this stuff, reported that mortgage fraud is actually down from where it was two years ago.
That's a good thing, of course.
The mortgage fraud index, as the company explained, covers the "overall risk of mortgage fraud" and four indices:
• Property valuation fraud.
• Identity fraud.
• Occupancy fraud.
• Misrepresentation of employment/ income.
So Interthinx takes all those frauds, puts them in blender and comes up with this mortgage fraud index. Right now, the national composite index fraud level is 137. A score of 100 is considered a "nominal level of fraud risk."
According to this index, California and Florida have the most metro areas, 19 and 17, respectively, that are at a high risk level for mortgage fraud.
Other states with multiple high-risk metros are Arizona, Colorado, New Jersey and Oregon.
The worst of the worst metros are Merced, Stockton, Miami/ Fort Lauderdale and then ... wait for it ... wait for it ... Yuba City.
The Yuba City index score was 231, about 50 points lower than the fraud capital, Merced.
The Yuba City metro area received special mention as an area ripe for property valuation fraud, ranking third.
According to Interthinx, property valuation fraud is "perpetrated by manipulating property value to create equity which is then extracted from loan proceeds by various means."
So has this really been going on in Yuba-Sutter? Is there some strange, nefarious underworld of overvalued properties?
Where are they now?
Time for another update on a former Yuba-Sutter person of note: Charles Maynard, a Yuba City police captain who departed in 2000 to become police chief in San Anselmo in Marin County.
The Ross Valley Reporter last week said Maynard is retiring this month.
His claim to fame in San Anselmo? He led the charge to consolidate the San Anselmo Police Department with the Twin Cities (Corte Madera and Larkspur) Department.
"It has nothing but positives coming out of the decision," Maynard told the newspaper. "I think the plan will save those three communities significantly. I think there will be more opportunities for employees."
San Anselmo's savings is about $900,000 in the first year, the newspaper said.
Maybe he should come to Marysville.
Off Beat is on vacation next Sunday. It will return in two weeks.