Colorado had the 10th-highest level of residential mortgage fraud during 2008, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

The No. 10 spot is up from the state’s 2007 ranking of No. 17. The state was No. 8 on the list during 2006, No. 6 in 2005 and No. 3 in 2004.

Rhode Island was No. 1 on the 2008 list, followed by Florida, Illinois, Georgia, Maryland, New York, Michigan, California and Missouri.

Colorado Bankers Association President Don Childears isn’t surprised by the news, because he said better fraud investigation and enforcement could have lead to the higher ranking.

“We’ve been very aggressive about fraud,” Childears said. “This became our No. 1 priority five of six years ago, so it could be that we’re just catching more people than other states.”

He said that about four years ago legislation was passed that gave law enforcement more access to Colorado Bureau of Investigation expertise on complicated financial fraud.

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The MBA report said fraud incidence is at an all-time high and is comprised of “continuing application misrepresentations and multiple verification-oriented issues and technological advancements.”

“Fraud morphs continually.” Childears said. “Once we figure out one scheme, they come up with another one.”

He also said that what happens in Colorado’s mortgage market is typically a year or two ahead of the rest of the country.

“It may be that this is a precursor to what other states are going to begin seeing in the next few years,” he said.