Wednesday, April 21, 2010

She's a CROOK! At least that what the Florida Bar says, the case of disbarred attorney Maria Teresa Lopez.

Today we're going to discuss the case of disbarred Miami attorney Maria Teresa Lopez, an attorney accused of doing in the bars words "great public harm".  We wonder how this story flew under the radar?  Where was the media blitz and fanfare for this case?  From the initial Florida supreme court suspension...

maria teresa lopez emergency suspension                                                            

Ok, that's from back in October 29, 2008.  Let's fast forward to late 2009 and look at the bar referee report...

maria teresa lopez bar referee report                                                            


Oh boy.  From the report...
The following paragraphs will detail some of these transactions which include failure to satisfy two (2) mortgages and flipping (compound transactions which were conducted simultaneously).
Sound familiar?  Remember the transactions we talked about last summer regarding the homes that were busted out in the Grove?  Let's see what Ms. Lopez was up to, again from the bar...

H. The first transaction occurred on or about March 31, 2006, involving property located at 2300 SW 26 Street, Miami, Fl 33133. The HUD-1 Statement reflects that the purchase price was $720,000.00; that Respondent was the settlement agent; Christian Giannotti was the seller; and Mairet Corzo was the buyer.  
I. This transaction appears to not have been an arm’s length transaction. Christian Giannotti and Mairet Corzo were the principals in a Florida Limited Liability Company identified as Giannotti & Corzo, LLC.  It is   Respondent’s contention that she had no knowledge of the existing relationship between the parties prior to or while acting as the closing agent for the transaction.
J. During the Staff Auditor’s review of the records, he found the following problems with this transaction: 
 1. The cash from borrower listed on line 303 of the HUD-1 Statement was $24,904.60, however, those funds were never provided by the borrower.  It is Respondent’s contention that the funds were provided by seller to borrower as a loan from seller’s proceeds.
 2. The cash to seller listed on line 603 of the HUD-1 Statement was $166,935.52, however, the actual disbursements were $75,000.00 to Christian Giannotti, “the seller”, and $66,030.92 to Mairet Corzo, “the borrower”. 
 3. There was a “Gift of equity” (listed on line 509 of the HUD-1 Statement) in the amount of $170,000.00 which reduced the sales price. 
 4. Respondent contends that she received $4,350.50 in fees, and since she was a broker with Preferred Mortgage, she also received approximately $6,000.00 more. 
SWEET!  Both the buyer and seller cashing out at the closing and the attorney doing the closing is not only the closing agent but the mortgage broker!  Talk about multitasking!  It get's better...

K. In the above transaction Respondent failed to satisfy an existing mortgage on the property in the amount of $320,000.00 from Capital Homes and Investments, which filed a Lis Pendens on March 7, 2007.  Capital Homes and Investments has not foreclosed on the property because Christian Giannotti filed a Suggestion of Bankruptcy.  Capital Homes and Investments has filed a claim with The Fund.  It is Respondent’s contention that this claim has recently been settled among the parties.

L. On or about December 27, 2006, Mairet Corzo refinanced the above property located at 2300 SW 26 Street, Miami Fl 33133 and netted approximately $73,412.06 before she let the property go into foreclosure.  Respondent was the Settlement Agent and again failed to satisfy the existing mortgage of Capital Homes.  From this transaction, Respondent contends that she received $6,346.62 in fees and  held $20,000.00 in her trust account in an effort to obtain a release of mortgage from Giannotti.  On or about August 21, 2007, those funds were paid to The Fund when she disclosed the existence of said funds during a deposition.  

COOL!  Not only was the first part of this closing hokey but she allows the buyer to refinance the property and she FORGETS TO PAY OFF THE MORTGAGE AT THE CLOSING!  To add insult to injury, attorney/mortgage broker Lopez pcks up another $6,346.62 in fees!  COOL!


It get's better...
M. The second transaction involved property located at 13040 Coronado Terrace, Miami, Fl 33187.  The HUD-1 Statement reflects that Respondent was the settlement agent; Irina Ball acted as purchaser; the seller was Max Gawley; the settlement date was August 16, 2007; and the purchase price was $930,000.00.  

N. In addition to this HUD-1 Statement, there is a second HUD-1 Statement with the same date, but this time Irina Ball acted as the seller of this same property to a buyer identified as Roximar Duval. This HUD-1 Statement reflects that the sales price was $1,275,000.00; the cash from borrower was $324,657.05 ; and the cash to seller was $1,229,544.96.  

O. In reality, there was no cash from the borrower .  It is Respondent’s contention that the borrower did not bring cash to the closing, but the funds were provided by seller as a loan to borrower from seller’s sale proceeds.  The real seller, Max Gawley, received $797,282.05, Irina Ball received $38,780.86 and Respondent contends that the $9,136.50 she received was for fees. It should be noted that the lender recorded a Lis Pendens.


 Ok, another bust out, no cash to close (actually $324,657.05 missing, but who's counting), double huds, simultaneous flips (same day no less) with a net profit of nearly $300,000 and to add insult to injury, the house is in foreclosure.  NICE!  Ok, one more...

P. The third transaction involved property located at 400 Alton Road #710, Miami Beach, Fl 33139, and it is similar to the previous transactions.  The HUD-1 Statement reflects that Respondent was the settlement agent; Irina Ball acted as the purchaser; the seller was Adam Slone; the settlement date was October 15, 2007; the purchase price was $880,000.00; and the cash to seller was $165,040.43.

Q. In addition to this HUD-1 Statement, there is a second HUD-1 Statement dated October 26, 2007, in which Irina Ball acted as the seller for the same property to a buyer identified as Juanita Nails. This HUD-1 Statement reflects that the sales price was $1,050,000.00; the cash from borrower was $117,207.12; and the cash to seller was $1,028,390.68.  

R. Again, there was no cash from the borrower.  It is Respondent’s contention that the borrower did not bring cash to the closing, but the funds were provided by seller as a loan to borrower from seller’s sale proceeds.  The seller, Adam Slone, received $165,040.43; Irina Ball (through her corporation Pan American Investment and Mortgage Corp.) received $38,780.86; and Respondent contends that the $25,902.78 she received was for fees. 
More of the same, simultaneous flips, six figure profit and Attorney/mortgage broker Lopez pockets a nice $25,902.78 fee!  Bored yet?  Ok, one more...
S. Another transaction where Respondent acted as the closing agent involved property located at 16485 Collins Avenue #1136 Sunny Isles Beach, Florida.  The HUD-1 Statement reflects that Respondent was the settlement agent; Cliff Johnson acted as purchaser; the seller was Jessica Borer; the settlement date was August 29, 2007; and the purchase price was $850,000.00.  

T. In addition to this HUD-1 Statement, there is a second HUD-1 Statement with the same date, but this time Cliff Johnson acted as the seller for the same property to a buyer identified as Roximar Duval. This HUD-1 Statement reflects that the sales price was $998,000.00; the cash from borrower was $82,686.42; and the cash to seller was $128,618.92.

U. Once again, there was no cash from borrower.  It is Respondent’s contention that the borrower did not bring cash to the closing, but the funds were provided by seller as a loan to borrower from seller’s sale proceeds.  The seller, Jessica Borer had her existing mortgages satisfied, but did not receive anything further.  It is Respondent’s contention that Irina Ball (not listed in either of the two HUD-1 Statements) received $22,915.68 pursuant to a disbursement authorization and and that the $17,233.07 received by Respondent was for fees . It should be noted that the lender has recorded a Lis Pendens.

Once again, the simultaneous flip, huge profits and the home goes into foreclosure after the scam, oh and the attorney/mortgage broker receives a $17,233.07 fee!


Now, take into account that these closings occurred back in 2006 and 2007 yet the attorney/mortgage broker wasn't arrested?!  Why weren't people like Detective Baluja and ASA Bill Kostrzewski staying up till four in the morning writing up arrest affidavits to bring this woman down?  We'll get into that tomorrow.

1 comment:

  1. Crook sounds like an understatement.

    ReplyDelete