Sunday, July 19, 2009

Slow going...

I feel like Sisyphus trying to push the boulder up the hill! It's not easy for someone that's not in the legal profession or law enforcement to find out much about these cases. Although the arrest affidavit for this case is public record, its not exactly easy for me to get my hands on it, I am working on it though. What I have been able to come up with is whats readily available on the Miami Dade Clerk of Courts website, here I have access to the criminal histories of anyone that's ever been arrested in the county. Lets start with three defendants and see what they've done in the past besides the charges stemming from this case:

John Romney (DOB 4/7/81)
  • GRD THFT/3D/300+/-5K
Micheal Martinez (DOB 12/1/77)

Delaila Estefano (DOB 4/12/73)
  • no crimnal history

Interesting. The two co defendants have a moderate criminal history ranging from playing around with pot to committing grand theft, the attorney has nothing. On October 3, 2008 all three were charged with the same charges, they are:

  1. Organized Scheme to Defraud
  2. Grand Theft
  3. Identity Theft
Pretty interesting from a lay persons point of view, three heavy charges on all three defendants one of which (the identity theft) has a minimum mandatory sentencing guideline. The bail amounts for the three are as follows:

  1. John Romney $450,000
  2. Micheal Martinez $450,000
  3. Delaila Estefano $75,000
That's some serious money boys and girls! But again, something didn't seem right. Those bail amounts seemed awful high to me, I've researched other mortgage fraud arrests and have yet to see another one with bail amounts this high. Lets take a look at a specific case with similar charges (a case BTW whose arrests were made only 4 days after this one), the case involving Michele Walters (case #F-08-036971). As it was explained to me this is a case where Michele Walters (who is a mortgage broker) and her husband purchased a home under their Aunts name, the Aunt supposedly had no knowledge of the purchase and when alerted to it, immediately called the police and filed a police report. On the surface, it seems to be the exact same case that we read about in the Miami Herald where Romney, Martinez and Estefano were arrested so logic would dictate that the bail amounts should be exactly the same correct (or almost the same)? Lets see what the charges are:
YIKES! That sounds as bad or worse than what the others were charged with! So whats the bail amount here? At least six figures right? Fortunately for them the bail amount was far short of six figures, it was only $27,500. What the hell is that about? Maybe a different Assistant State Attorney was assigned to the case and perhaps he saw things differently than ASA Bill Kostrzewski did on the other case? Guess who the ASA is on the Michele Walters case? SHAZAM!!!!!! Its ASA Bill Kostrzewski! What are the chances?

But why the radically reduced bail amounts? Why isn't this case ANYWHERE in the media? After all, the arrests in this case were made only four days after the case in the Herald, why no fanfare? Remember the date October 3, 2008, there's something about that date that's important and I believe much of what happened in the Barrera mortgage fraud case has to do with that date. We'll revisit that date a little later...

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