Does Jorge Baluja understand what Identity Theft is?
Isn't that a simple question? Does the lead detective in the Bernardo Barrera mortgage fraud case know what "Identity Theft" is? We discussed the definition in yesterdays post, regardless though, the very phrase is simple to understand as it's self explanatory, isn't it? As I've mentioned before, I've spent countless hours in the courthouse going through the Barrera mortgage fraud case file, among other things in the file are the depositions of Detective Jorge Baluja. As I've said in earlier posts, there's a ton of comedic material in those transcripts as Detective Baluja seemingly doesn't know his ass from his elbow when asked about this case. Now this is a pretty serious allegation isn't it? After all, a lead detective in a case of this nature has the power to destroy peoples lives, even worse, if he makes mistakes or doesn't understand the nature of the case and the crimes that he alleges have been committed, he's opening up himself and the state for a boat load of problems.
We've already seen that Detective Baluja has no understanding of the basic fundamentals of Real Estate transactions or the business of Mortgages, we've also outlined that he has very little understanding if any of Mortgage Fraud, we've even uncovered an easy step by step pictoral guide to the "typical mortgage fraud scheme" prepared by the Mortgage Fraud Task force and still we've yet to uncover a single stitch of evidence to support that Detective Baluja had any understanding whatsoever of what he was doing in this case. Yesterday we discussed the crime of "identity theft", we know (at least as lay people) what the elements of that crime are, I.E., stealing someones identity, producing fake documentation to pose as the person who is being impersonated and then somehow deriving a financial (or other) gain that you were not otherwise entitled to. Pretty simple isn't it? Can it get easier than that? Now what if I tell you that based on what I've read, Detective Baluja HAS NO IDEA WHATSOEVER what the elements of the crime of identity theft are? Keep in mind folks, that before the good detective goes into these depositions that he is HEAVILY COACHED AND PREPARED FOR HOURS by Assistant State Attorney Bill Kostrzewski on the case, how he's to behave in the depo and what he's supposed to answer, knowing that and considering how much preparation goes into getting ready for the deposition, HOW THE HELL COULD YOU NOT KNOW WHAT IDENTITY THEFT IS?
So here we go, when Detective Jorge Baluja is asked what makes the defendant (at least the attorney) guilty of Identity Theft he responds with this gem:
There it is folks, in Detective Baluja's mind accepting a third party check for the closing for the purchase of the Oak Avenue home satisfied the elements of the crime of Identity Theft. In what bizarro parallel universe does that make sense? Accepting a third party check constitutes IDENTITY THEFT?! This is the same Detecitve Baluja that was given a commendation by Major Juan Odio for his investigatory skills?! WHAT THE FCUK?
We've established after several months of writing that Detective Baluja posses a less than stellar intellect, the question that begs to be asked though is who the hell was watching over him at the PD? How can this level of misconduct go on without someone supervising him? Isn't there a system of checks and balances in place at the police level to stop someone like Detective Baluja from putting together a case whose crimes he has no understanding of? Even worse, if there is no one at the PD level to review his work, isn't the state attorney supposed to vet the cases before they move forward? After all folks, we're talking about life changing events here! I'm sure that before you move forward with charging folks with crimes as serious as these you use an abundance of caution, DON'T YOU?
At this point in time anyone reading this blog from it's inception should be furious. Why doesn't one of the readers from law enforcement or the state attorneys office explain to us HOW THE HELL SOMETHING LIKE THIS IS ALLOWED TO HAPPEN? How is a thoroughly incapable cop allowed to fumble his way through a case, make up evidence (yes you read that right) and throw together charges that he DOESN'T EVEN UNDERSTAND? Worse yet, how is this allowed to progress without one of his superiors at the very least asking him if he even understood what the FCUK he was doing?
Is this what the mayor's heralded Mortgage Fraud Task Force stands for? After all that we've read about Glenn Theobald's ground breaking mortgage fraud legislation and creation of this task force, is Detective Baluja's work on this case a fair representation of Mr. Theobalds efforts? After all we've learned about Sgt. Richard Davis, his fantastic police work (at least in what we read in the David Rodriguez case), his training of detectives on the task force, is it fair to characterize his efforts through Detective Baluja's behavior in this case? In my opinion what we've learned about Detective Baluja's handling of this case is SHAMEFUL, both to himself and to all those who worked tirelessly to create the Mortgage Fraud Task Force.
So the question that begs to be asked is when is someone (other than an idiot with a blog) going to do something about this? Shouldn't there be some sort of reaction within the PD to the allegations I've made here? I for one doubt anything will happen no matter how badly Detective Baluja's performance has reflected on the MDPD and the Mortgage Fraud Task Force. Till next time folks, have a Happy Thanksgiving!
I read a story in the Miami Herald on October 7, 2008 regarding a mortgage fraud case that didn't make any sense to me, I did a little digging and what I found left me stunned. A tale of a task force head whose political ambitions have run amuck, a detective without a modicum of common sense, a reporter that prints anything that's put in front of him, the railroading of an attorney by this machine to further the ambitions of its head and the lengths that those involved will go to in order to salvage a case that should have never been. Please take the time to start from the oldest post first and enjoy...