Friday, October 15, 2010

Grand theft, the definition.

I've been going through some depo transcripts pertaining to other mortgage fraud cases and the one charge that keeps popping up is the ubiquitous "Grand Theft" charge.  In one of the mortgage fraud cases the fraudsters were convicted of Grand Theft even though no money had ever changed hands, this seemed odd to me so I looked up the definition of Grand Theft as it appears in Florida Law...
812.014  Theft.--
(1)  A person commits theft if he or she knowingly obtains or uses, or endeavors to obtain or to use, the property of another with intent to, either temporarily or permanently:
(a)  Deprive the other person of a right to the property or a benefit from the property.
(b)  Appropriate the property to his or her own use or to the use of any person not entitled to the use of the property. 
So it's not only stealing something that makes you guilty of Grand Theft, you can also be charged if you "endeavor to obtain" the property of another. As I understand it, as it pertains to the mortgage and real estate fraud cases that we've been discussing, the very act of executing a fraudulent purchase contract whether it's for an inflated sales price or to be used in the commission of a mortgage fraud constitutes the crime of Grand Theft. With that in mind, if a fraudulent purchase contract was drafted and executed by both the buyer and seller for a transaction that didn't end up closing, are the people who executed said contract guilty of Grand Theft?

We're going to be discussing this at length over the next few weeks as it relates to another mortgage fraud case involving our favorite Assistant State Attorney and believe it or not someone named Baluja! Till then, enjoy your weekend...

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