Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Something about that plea agreement from yesterday...

So we're reviewing yesterdays post in preparation for today's story when something struck us as strange.  No, it wasn't the fact that both Pastor Gaston Smith and Micheal Martinez were both accused of stealing nearly the same amount of money and it wasn't the fact that although their crimes were similar their punishments didn't seem fair.  So what was it?  After reading the plea agreement between Mr. Martinez and the state (prepared by non other than ASA Bill Kostrewski) , there was one element that bothered me.  From item number 6 the plea agreement:
...defendant shall make payments of not less than five hundred dollars ($500.00) per month to victim Citi Mortgage, Inc., or to its successor(s), or, in the event that Citi Mortgage, Inc., is reimbursed for its loss by title insurance, to its insurer of title.
What's the big deal you say?  After all, Citi Mortgage is insured not only for mortgages that default but also for errors that may have occurred during the closing by the closing agent.  Fine, SO WHAT?  We couldn't put our finger on it, but somehow something about that statement got our wheels turning, then it dawned on me.  Does anyone think that during the course of the Bernardo Barrera Mortgage Fraud investigation anyone from the MDPD Mortgage Fraud Task Force or the Economic Crimes Bureau of the State Attorneys Office contacted the "insurer of title" aka the title insurance company?  I mean, after all these people know the ins and outs of real estate transactions better than anyone else don't they?  Wouldn't these be the people that you would want to consult with in building this kind of case, especially since they're involved with the case?  Surely if the lead detective in the investigation didn't contact the title insurance company, "veteran economic crimes prosecutor" Bill Kostrzewski must have right?  Who knows for sure whether or not they did (we doubt it) but rest assured in an effort to leave no stone unturned, we here at the Straw Buyer contacted the title insurance company's legal counsel.  HUH?!

That's right folks!  Surely we all remember the post from back in September where we discussed an opinion from another attorney involved in the foreclosure case that arose from the Bernardo Barrera mortgage fraud right?  Guess who that attorney worked for? THE TITLE INSURANCE COMPANY! Let's take another look at that email...


Very nice!  Anyone think that Detective Baluja or ASA Kostrzewski ever contacted the title insurance company or their lawyers regarding the Barrera mortgage fraud?  Considering that opinion from one of their attorneys, perhaps they did and didn't like what they heard about their "Victim"?  Can you imagine that conversation?  Perhaps a little trouble understanding what's obvious?

Should anyone be surprised?  Just another example of how poor the investigation and subsequent prosecution of this case has been, only now we're beginning to see that the blame isn't all on the shoulders of Detective Baluja, perhaps more of the blame rests on "veteran economic crimes prosecutor" Kostrzewski.  Nice going Bill.

1 comment:

  1. Concerned CitizenMarch 3, 2010 at 12:33 PM

    looks like you've done more investigating than the cops. Has anyone lost their jobs because of this case yet?