Thursday, July 23, 2009

Taking another look. Did Detective Jorge Baluja really listen to what the victim Bernardo Barrera said in his police report?

There are times when there's something staring you right in the face yet you don't see it. After a few moments of thought (for those of us that are not mentally challenged) and maybe a second look, these things JUMP RIGHT OUT AND SLAP YOU IN THE FACE! In the few posts that I've made to date there are already several bombs that Detective Jorge Baluja should have picked up. Lets start with the quote that I provided from the arrest affidavit earlier where Detective Baluja tells us how the victim Bernardo Barrera found out about the fraudulent mortgage and the ID theft:
"He testified that he become (sic) aware of this situation through his credit monitoring service He then contacted the Miami-Dade Police Department, which resulted in this investigation."
GOD DAMN I HATE THOSE CREDIT MONITORING SERVICES! A few years ago a hospital that I had visited informed me that there was a breach of security at their records department and that there was a possibility that the hospital records containing thousands of patients personal information may have been compromised. In an effort to mitigate any damage that could be caused by this breach, the hospital offered to pay for several years of credit monitoring through one of the many credit monitoring services available to the public. In my case I chose TruCredit and let me tell you it became NOTHING BUT A G--DAMN PAIN IN MY FCUKING ASS! I was constantly getting notifications about the slightest little thing on my credit history including but not limited to inquiries, change of address, change of employment, payment status, new accounts, change in credit limits, collections etc... It was so bothersome (constant emails, letters, etc) that I cancelled the service after a few months even though it didn't cost me anything (THAT'S HOW I ROLL YO!)

Enough with my rant, lets get back to the quote from the arrest affidavit. Detective Baluja says that in his statement to the police, the states victim Bernardo Barrera claimed that he was notified of the new mortgage through his credit monitoring service. That's fantastic, remember that Baluja also says (gratuitously) in his arrest affidavit that Bernardo Barrera "has good credit", even better. Now that we know that Mr. Barrera "has good credit" and that "...he become (sic) aware of this situation through his credit monitoring service", according to the affidavit upon being alerted to the new account or mortgage on his credit, Mr. Barrera immediately alerted the police. Great.

Lets take a closer look now and also look at the relevant dates. According the police report, Mr. Barrera claims that he was alerted to the new loan by the credit monitoring services on March 17, 2008 then for some reason or another HE TAKES TWO FULL DAYS TO FILE A POLICE REPORT (March 19, 2008)! So he was notified on a Monday that there was nearly $500,000 new mortgage in his name yet he waited until Wednesday to call the cops? Does that seem right? OK, lets be fair and extend the same benefit of the doubt to Mr. Barrera that Mr. Baluja did and move on. The closing involving the fraudulent mortgage where Mr. Barreras identity was stolen occurred on February 19, 2008, sort of bizarre that the police report was filed EXACTLY 30 DAYS LATER? This may be just a coincidence, whether it is or not we'll soon see that there are some VERY STRANGE coincidences involving dates in this story.

Now that we have some pertinent dates down, lets move forward. I've purchased a home before and gone through the process involved in obtaining a mortgage. The first step is filling out an application after which the broker or loan officer checks your credit history and sees whether you're credit worthy or not, usually a credit report is generated that's a summary of information from the three major credit reporting services. The instant the report is generated an inquiry is noted on your credit history on all the credit reporting agencies. If you meet the standards for credit worthiness with the bank, you're good to go. If you went through a mortgage broker (rather than going directly to a bank), if you're credit worthy, the broker will shop the loan around to different banks, if one bites they then turn around and pull your credit report again (once again instantly generating an inquiry which is noted on your credit history on all the credit reporting agencies). Best case scenario, you'll get one inquiry on your credit history, worst case you'll get two, then depending on the situation you would close 20 to 60 days later. HOLY CRAP!!

Did anyone else get it? Follow me here, PAY ATTENTION! The states victim gets notice from a credit monitoring service that there is a new loan in his name reported on his credit report THIRTY DAYS (30 YO!) AFTER THE LOAN CLOSED?! Not to mention that Mr. Barrera (who according to Detective Baluja has "good credit") has had at least one or as many as two inquiries on his credit history (remember that he diligently monitors through credit monitoring services) yet somehow only makes mention of being alerted of the "new loan" and nothing else? Remember my rant about the credit monitoring services from a few paragraphs ago? Remember how I told you they would constantly alert me of ANY ACTIVITY WHATSOEVER on my credit history? So how in this case did the states victim Mr. Bernardo Barrera only get notified of the NEW LOAN AND NOT THE INQUIRIES THAT LEAD UP TO IT? Lets go out on a limb here, what if indeed he was notified of the inquiries but just forget to tell the police about it? OH SNAP!

Let me remind the readers here that I have no training in the art of investigation, any knowledge of the legal system and I DIDN'T STAY IN A HOLIDAY INN LAST NIGHT! Yet my meager investigatory skills gleaned from watching Scooby Doo reruns as a child leads me to believe that there is something fishy going on here, I wonder did the Detective come to the same conclusion? Did the Detective smell something wrong and investigate further or did he just take Bernardo Barreras statement for fact and move on? Unfortunately from what I see in the arrest affidavit, the detective took Mr. Barrera for his word and moved on without further investigation into the claims that the states "VICTIM" made.

Once again we come upon a point in our journey were if Detective Jorge Baluja had exerted the slightest bit of effort, the case would have gone in a completely different direction. I KNOW YOU'RE THERE DETECTIVE, if I'm wrong, there's a little highlighted section below that says "post a comment", please feel free to correct me. Unfortunately, the facts outlined in your affidavit regarding the course of your investigation are pretty damning...

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