Cleveland.Com is reporting a mortgage fraud task force sets up office in Cleveland.

A task force hacking through the Cleveland area’s tangled web of mortgage fraud has so much work that it has opened a full-time, high-tech command center.

Federal, state and Cuyahoga County agencies will fill the office with seven full-time and six part-time staff, County Prosecutor Bill Mason said. Investigators will collaborate on cases that may number in the thousands and involve hundreds of millions of dollars.

The office, opened within the last two weeks, is the only one of its kind in Ohio. It is in downtown Cleveland, but officials asked that the location be kept secret.

My comment: What kind of dimwit thinks the location needs to be kept secret? Are terrorists taking over Cleveland? Is Al Qaeda involved in mortgage fraud? Is the fraud center under threat of attack?

The task force, formed about a year ago, is shifting into high gear and uniting under one roof will improve communication and efficiency, Mason said.

My comment: Consolidating operations, improving communications, and shifting into high gear with a new command center are all smart tactics when confronting terrorism.

In addition to Mason’s office, task force members will be from the Ohio attorney general’s office, the state Commerce Department, U.S. attorney’s office, FBI, Internal Revenue Service, U.S. Postal Service, Department of Housing and Urban Development and local police departments.

My comment: Where the hell is the CIA and the department of homeland security? This seems like a shocking lack of manpower. I would have thought we learned something about failing to send in anything but overwhelming force in Iraq. Apparently not.

More than 80 officials, including police chiefs, visited the center Friday, Mason said. Task force leaders encouraged chiefs to bring in cases and assign investigators to the center.

My comment: And the location is still secret? Amazing. Did they steal Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak when visiting?

A tidal wave of foreclosures has made Cleveland the epicenter of the mortgage meltdown in the United States. New cases this year in Cuyahoga County could hit a record 17,000, according to the county treasurer’s office.

Mortgage-fraud rings, capitalizing on some of the most lax lending policies in U.S. history, have blitzed entire Cleveland neighborhoods and extended their reach to outer suburbs like Solon. Mortgage brokers and others have cashed in on fees and inflated sale prices. Then, in many instances, they left homes abandoned.

My comment: We are clearly talking about organized economic terrorism. Who would have figured terrorists would have honed in on Cleveland? Perhaps we should scrap putting up a fence on the border with Mexico and concentrating on a greater need: Sealing off Cleveland before the terrorists escape.

Mortgage fraud may account for 25 percent of Ohio’s foreclosures, said state Attorney General Marc Dann, whose office is picking up much of the command center’s expense.

Dann declined to comment because he believes discussing it is prohibited by Ohio’s organized-crime law. Mason said the gag rule applies only to specific investigations.

My comment: Wow. It’s a crime to talk about exact costs of the center, its location, or much anything else about the operations. Dann went on to say “We can tell you, but then we would have to shoot you.”

For another take on this story please see point number five in Tuesday’s “Five Things” by Minyanville’s Kevin Depew who is asking ….

Good lord, is this really what it’s come down to? Is mortgage fraud in the Cleveland area so rampant they have to form a special Mortgage Fraud Task Force to conduct tactical counter-mortgage-fraud operations out of a command center in a top secret location? What are they using, smoke bombs and tear gas to fight off mortgage fraud? Do the accountants really wear gas masks and carry automatic weapons when they rappel down the sides of the buildings they raid, or do they just hang out and analyze the mortgage documents in the secret command center?

Mike Shedlock / Mish
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