Thursday, February 25, 2010

The new Mortgage Fraud unit in the State Attorneys Office and the Straw Buyer misses the Mortgage Fraud summit!

Last week while cruising the docket of one of the mortgage fraud cases that we've written about we noticed that the original prosecutor assigned to the case, Bill Kostrzewski, was replaced by a new prosecutor from the State Attorneys Office new "Mortgage Fraud" unit.  We then heard the new prosecutor tell the judge that he needed additional time to "reevaluate the case", understandable.  That's all well and good, you have to wonder though, what prompted the creation of this new trial unit within the State Attorneys Office?

For months now we've been hearing about discord between the MDPD Mortgage Fraud Task Force and the State Attorneys Office regarding how the cases that they developed were prosecuted.  Back in December we randomly picked 15 cases prepared by the MDPD Mortgage Fraud Task Force that totaled over $4.5 million dollars, yet when the cases were handed off to the State Attorneys Office for prosecution, none of the defendants were punished with anything more than probation.  That must be frustrating, imagine being the detective that put together a labor intensive, complicated Mortgage Fraud case only to have the prosecutor let the defendant off with nothing more than a slap on the wrist?  We can only imagine the level of frustration and disappointment that the PD must have experienced, especially when the leader of the task force makes this statement to the press:

"Probation is not an option"

Based on the prosecutors performance, it looks like the prosecutors must have misread that quote...
"Probation is not an is the only option"
For a while it seemed like all the Task Forces Mortgage Fraud prosecutions were either going through a state wide prosecutor or the feds, basically completely sidestepping the local State Attorneys Office.  If indeed that isn't just an anomaly and indeed an intentional move, can you blame the task force for bypassing the local prosecutors?  With the kind of punishments that we've outlined for the fraudsters, it's understandable.  Our theory is that it's because of this "lackluster" performance by the prosecutors in the cases that we've found that the State Attorneys Office went ahead and created this specialized Mortgage Fraud trial unit, after all, we know how complicated these cases are and the fact that it takes years (not days) of training and experience to properly understand the nature of these crimes.  Let's not forget the how the expertly prepared case (by real estate industry veteran Sgt. Richard Davis) against Attorney David Rodriguez was bungled by a prosecutor from the SAO.  With that said, We'd like to wish the new Mortgage Fraud Trial unit the best of luck.

Unbeknown to us here at The Straw Buyer, there was a Mortgage Fraud Summit here in Miami yesterday!  Unfortunately we didn't find out about it until it was over!  Even worse, WE WEREN'T INVITED!  CRAP!  

Can you imagine if we were able to attend?  We could have come face to face with the people running these cases!  Can you imagine the face to face discourse that would have been possible?  DAMN!  Enough of that!  

Now, for our hardcore readers that have a little too much time on their hands, here's a bit of a riddle for you.  Go back through the $4.5 million in mortgage fraud cases that we've outlined in the links above and see if you can figure out what they all have in common...

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