"Closing agent failed to follow closing instructions."So in the case of the Lopez siblings, what exactly did that mean? Let's take a quick rundown of how they failed to follow closing instructions for the properties whose closings they conducted:
- Failure to record deeds
- Failure to record mortgages
- Failure to issue title policies
- Failure to collect monies from buyers as outlined by the HUD-1's
- Failure to pay off existing mortgages for the sellers
- Inappropriate distribution of proceeds from the transactions
What's strange about the transactions that we've discussed throughout the last week is that neither Maria Teresa Lopez or Irina Jackeline Ball were the closing agents on the fraudulent transactions, yet they were the only ones arrested (with the exception of Jamie Nails who allegedly procured the stolen identity for one of the transactions and is still at large). The transactions we've outlined all occurred after Ms. Lopez lost her ability to underwrite closings with Attorneys Title and according to the police reports and the Florida Bar's own investigation, the transactions were actually conducted by two other attorneys, Darlene Fernandez Carus and Guillermo Napoleon Lopez. In essence, Ms. Lopez wasn't even the closing agent on the fraudulent transactions which leads us to the question we raised yesterday, why weren't these attorneys, the ones that actually closed the fraudulent transactions arrested? We know that at the very least Mr. Lopez was disciplined by the Bar, but we can't even find as much for the other attorney, are we to believe that both the police and the Bar bought her "I had no idea these transactions were occurring" explanation? That's a tough pill to swallow as these transactions require access to her trust accounts, her offices paperwork to the lenders for the closing, etc. Let's say for the sake of argument that the attorneys had no idea what was going on and were perhaps duped by their employees and/or shady people that were hanging around their offices, as we mentioned yesterday, using the Bernardo Barrera mortgage fraud case as an example, why weren't the attorneys involved who ultimately signed the title policies and closing proceeds checks arrested? What's the deal folks? We're talking near seven figure transactions flowing through their trust accounts and they maintain they had no idea what was going on? I think the best way to sum up that excuse is with my new vanity license plate...
Think about it Detective Baluja and especially you ASA Kostrzewski, it's your favorite phrase...
"Closing agent failed to follow closing instructions."