Friday, December 31, 2010

Here we are at the end of another decade.

Amazing isn't it?  Seems like it went by so fast.  I'd like to thank all of our readers for following along with all our incessant ramblings over the last 18 months or so, the fact that we still have material to write about is a sad commentary on the state of the cases that we've been discussing.  Regardless, we've made lots of progress in finding out the real stories behind some of the mortgage fraud cases we've written about and along the way pissed off a lot of people, I can only imagine how upset some of the cops we've written about must get after reading one of our blog posts on the way to work...

Honestly though, I know there are a lot of people in law enforcement that think I'm out to embarrass or humiliate them,  that's not the case at all.  In fact my only intention with this blog is to point out the gross miscarriages of justice that have occurred during the course of the cases that we've written about.  If there's anything to be embarrassed or ashamed of it's got nothing to do with us and everything to do with the way they handled the cases that we've written about.

Regardless, I'd like to wish all our readers a happy new year, especially those from the Department of Justice, Homeland Security, the FBI, the MDPD, the Florida Department of Management Services (if you're confused and think that might be you, google your IP and you'll understand) and the fine folks at Citibank/Citimortgage who log on here almost daily.  I almost forgot, to our most beloved reader from Panama, I promise 2011 will be a very interesting year for you.

Happy New Year folks!

funny animated gif

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Give up a kidney to get out of jail?

I'm on the road and therefore don't have the time for a proper blog post, but I found this article in today's New York Times worth mentioning...

Sister's Kidney Donation Condition of Miss. Parol

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — For 16 years, sisters Jamie and Gladys Scott have shared a life behind bars for their part in an $11 armed robbery. To share freedom, they must also share a kidney.
Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour suspended the sisters' life sentences on Wednesday, but 36-year-old Gladys Scott's release is contingent on her giving a kidney to Jamie, her 38-year-old sister, who requires daily dialysis.
The sisters were convicted in 1994 of leading two men into an ambush in central Mississippi the year before. Three teenagers hit each man in the head with a shotgun and took their wallets — making off with only $11, court records said.
Jamie and Gladys Scott were each convicted of two counts of armed robbery and sentenced to two life sentences.
"I think it's a victory," said the sisters' attorney, Chokwe Lumumba. "I talked to Gladys and she's elated about the news. I'm sure Jamie is, too."
Civil rights advocates have for years called for their release, saying the sentences were excessive. Those demands gained traction when Barbour asked the Mississippi Parole Board to take another look at the case.
The Scott sisters are eligible for parole in 2014, but Barbour said prison officials no longer think they are a threat to society and Jamie's medical condition is costing the state a lot of money.
Lumumba said he has no problem with the governor requiring Gladys to offer up her organ because "Gladys actually volunteered that as part of her petition."
Lumumba said it's not clear what caused the kidney failure, but it's likely a combination of different illnesses over the years.
Barbour spokesman Dan Turner told The Associated Press that Jamie Scott was released because she needs the transplant. He said Gladys Scott will be released if she agrees to donate her kidney because of the significant risk and recovery time.
"She wanted to do it," Turner said. "That wasn't something we introduced."
Barbour is a Republican in his second term who has been mentioned as a possible presidential contender in 2012. He said the parole board agreed with the indefinite suspension of their sentences, which is different from a pardon or commutation because it comes with conditions.
An "indefinite suspension of sentence" can be reversed if the conditions are not followed, but those requirements are usually things like meeting with a parole officer.
The Scott sisters have received significant public support from advocacy groups, including the NAACP, which called for their release. Hundreds of people marched through downtown Jackson from the state capital to the governor's mansion in September, chanting in unison that the women should be freed.
Still, their release won't be immediate.
Mississippi Department of Corrections Commissioner Chris Epps said late Wednesday that he had not received the order. He also said the women want to live with relatives in Florida, which requires approval from officials in that state.
In general, that process takes 45 days.
Mississippi NAACP President Derrick Johnson said the Scott sisters' release will be "a great victory for the state of Mississippi for two individuals who received an excessive sentence" and he has no problem with the kidney donation requirement because Gladys Scott volunteered.
"I think it's encouraging that she's willing to share a kidney so her sister can have a better quality life," Johnson said.
National NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous said the suspension of the sentences represents the good that can come with the power of governors.
"It's again proof that when people get engaged, keep the faith, we can win," Jealous said. 

Is that whack or what?  What's worse, having to give up a kidney as a condition of your release or getting two life sentences for stealing ELEVEN DOLLARS?!  Imagine that standard of punishment being applied to the millions of dollars worth of mortgage fraud we discovered that ended with no more than probation?!  Talk about a deterrent!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Did Citimortgage ever get reimbursed from the title insurance policy from the Bernardo Barrera mortgage fraud?

Pretty good question right?  We're all to familiar with the Bernardo Barrera mortgage fraud by now, if you buy the states story of Mr. Barrera's identity being stolen for the commission of a nearly $500,000 mortgage fraud then it stands to reason that when all is said and done that the lender could go after the closing agents title insurance and be reimbursed in full for their losses correct?  After all, according to the states arrest affidavit it's the attorney that helped set up this nefarious scheme so why not, right?

Last July we mentioned how strange it seemed for Citimortgage to classify this transaction as a "Fraud" as quickly as they had even though there were documents in their own files that suggested that Mr. Barrera may have indeed been involved in the fraud.  This made no sense at the time until we suggested that they were either going to be reimbursed by their own insurance once they classified the case as an identity theft or fraud or as prosecutor Kostrzewski suggested in his plea agreement with defendant Michael Martinez that the restitution was to be paid back 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.
Ok, makes sense right?  If indeed this case was a clear cut instance of identity theft it only makes sense that the lender could be reimbursed by the title insurance issued by the closing agent who officiated this nefarious transaction, correct?  Come to find out though that the claim that Citimortgage put against the title insurance for the Oak Avenue home was denied.  Anyone remember this email that we posted a while back?

This email was from the attorney that represented the title insurance company, turns out because of the evidence at hand, Citimortgage's claim against the title insurance was DENIED.  I wonder why?  Perhaps that last sentence clarifies things a bit..
...Mr. Barrera has perpetrated a fraud on the court in his filings, I intend to advise the judge about the issues you raised.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

It's all connected...

We left off on Christmas eve with an insurance fraud scheme executed by some of the dumbest criminals in Miami Dade county, but what if any link is there to our tales of mortgage fraud?  A simple Google search of some of the names involved yields a treasure trove of information, let's pick a name from the very first page of the police report, Jason Cuza.

YIKES!  From the FBI's page...
United States v. Bryan A. Guarch, et al., Case No. 09-20627-CR-Moreno.

On July 23, 2009, thirteen (13) defendants were charged in a 15-count Indictment for their participation in a mortgage fraud scheme that resulted in approximately $4 million in fraudulent loans. Charged in the Indictment were defendants Bryan A. Guarch, 29, Richard Pi, 27,  Edwin Garcia, 30, Carlos Martinez, 29, Wayne Bermudez, 29, Oscar Quintero, 28, Sunsy Garcia, 29, Ryan Barouh, 27, Jason Cuza, 30, Anthony Silverio, 26, all of Miami, Rafael Jaramillo, 32, of Hialeah Gardens, Mario Estrada Mora, 25, of Miami Beach, and Vanessa Negron, 27, of Boiling Springs, South Carolina.
According to the Indictment, defendants Guarch and Pi organized the scheme and identified eight properties to be used to defraud mortgage lenders. Guarch and Pi used defendants Edwin Garcia, Rafael Jaramillo, Carlos Martinez, and Wayne Bermudez, to recruit  straw buyers to submit fraudulent loan applications to mortgage lenders. Among the straw buyers recruited in this way were co-conspirators Oscar Quintero, Mario Estrada Mora, Sunsy Garcia, and Vanessa Negron.
After submitting fraudulent loan applications to the lenders, Pi and Guarch paid-off loan officers, defendants Ryan Barouh and Jason Cuza, to facilitate the approval of the loans. Guarch and Pi caused the title company closer, defendant Anthony Silverio, to approve and submit to the lender a fraudulent HUD-1 Settlement Statement with an inflated purchase price. In an effort to conceal the fraud, Silverio provided a second HUD-1 Settlement Statement to the sellers reflecting the actual, much lower purchase price of the property. At closing, Guarch and Pi kept more than $1 million in loan proceeds, representing the difference between the inflated purchase price and the price actually paid to the seller for the property. After closing, Guarch and Pi used those loan proceeds to pay off their co-conspirators and to fund their lavish life styles. After each of the closings, the straw buyers defaulted on the loans, causing each of the properties to go into foreclosure and resulting in possible losses to the lenders of more than $2.6 million.
The Indictment includes charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and substantive wire fraud. Mr. Sloman commended the investigative efforts of the Federal-State Mortgage Fraud Strike Force, with special commendation to the U.S. Secret Service, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Miami-Dade Police Department, and the State of Florida Office of Financial Regulation. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Peter A. Forand.
What are the chances?  Look at the ring leaders in this Federal indictment who were charged with orchestrating straw buyer schemes, they just happened to be involved in the bogus Exotic Car rental business that we discussed last week.  More coming...

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Friday, December 24, 2010

When tourists, straw buyers and exotic car rentals go WRONG!

It's tough to be all full of piss and vinegar this time of year, so we'll leave off this Christmas eve with a police report that accurately describes the type of "exotic car rental" business that we described in Wednesday's post.  This police report regarding a wrecked exotic rental car has all the elements of an illegal car rental company that we discussed the other day, straw buyers, financial fraud, insurance fraud, etc...  Take a look for yourselves, I apologize in advance for this disjointed shitty presentation of the police report, I was in a rush.  As always, click on the image for a larger view...

There's a lot to digest there, take a second look and then you might be able to fathom how stupid the people involved were.  By the time they were done the idiots involved staged at least three accidents and from the looks of it filed four different police reports, three of which were bogus.  Sounds stupid doesn't it?  Sophomoric?  Consider this isn't just some random police report of a moronic crime that I pulled out of the court files, the players involved in this escapade who can't seem to differentiate their asses from their elbows were also responsible for tens of millions of dollars of mortgage fraud and may even have some link to the Barrera mortgage fraud case.  Interesting huh?  More coming...

Until then folks, have a Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Tourists, Straw Buyers and exotic cars...

What do tourists, straw buyers and exotic cars have in common? Bit of a stretch isn't it? South Florida's economy is heavily dependent on tourism, one aspect of the tourist economy is the car rental business. We experienced a new twist in the car rental business down here in Miami a few years back, rather than offering the regular cast off General Motors, Dodge or Ford product new companies popped up around town that offered Exotic cars for rent. Sounds like the perfect compliment to the Miami vacation, why not cruise around South Beach in Ferrari...

Run around Coral Gables in a Lamborghini...

Pull up to the nightspots in a Rolls Royce...

Perfect, come down to Miami, rent an exotic car and look like a big shot for a few days. Check out the rates, Ferrari Spider for $1400 per day, Lamborghini spider for $1395 per day or a Rolls Royce for $2,900 per day. Not bad considering you got the use of a $200k+ car for a day.

There is a problem though, very few of the "entrepreneurs" behind these exotic car rental companies had the financial wherewithal to purchase the vehicles needed for these ventures. More often than not people renting these cars would find out (usually the hard way after they'd been pulled over by a cop) that the exotic cars that they had rented weren't in the name of the company that they rented it from but instead were titled to individuals. Can you imagine renting a car from say Hertz then pulling out the registration and finding out the car belonged to say Juan Martinez? Out of all the so called exotic car rental companies down here in Miami, only a handful were operating legally, that is only a handful were actually purchasing cars in their company name and renting them out as a normal car rental company would. The rest were resorting to all manner of methods to acquire their rental fleet, anything from getting cars in their personal names, using Straw Buyers or at worse, taking over payments from people who could no longer afford the cars. Think about it, rather than purchase the cars outright and lay out a ton of money, if you could use someone elses credit to lease a car, it's a win, win situation. Say the lease payment is $3,000 per month, you rent the car out two days per month to cover the expense and the rest is gravy. Perfect.

This exotic car rental business became a haven for fraudsters towards the end of the real estate bubble. The same tricks of the trade they employed in defrauding banks on bogus real estate deals, transitioned nicely into this car rental scam, straw buyers, bogus loan applications, bank and insurance fraud, etc. What makes no sense to me is how the cops never put two and two together and realized that the guys running these businesses had an extensive history in other types of financial fraud. We'll take a closer look at one such exotic car rental operation tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A brilliant comment from one of our readers regarding the Cat Killer case.

We left off last Friday discussing the alleged Cat Killer and mentioned that both he and his family are looking to file a civil lawsuit against the Miami Dade Police Department and the State Attorneys Office.  One of our readers left this insightful comment...

Blogger john lichtenstein said...
The analysis by the vet was a disaster. They did an analysis they were incompetent to do, didn't ask for advice from anyone competent, claimed there was a crime when there was no crime, and ended up costing the city a lot of money and hurting this kid. And it is frankly amazing that these vets don't know what a cat looks like after a dog eats it. In any sane society, careers would end over a mistake like this.
December 20, 2010 2:12 PM
Brilliant, I have to agree.  Regardless of the fact that the prosecutors ended up doing the right thing by dropping the charges, should this case have ever seen the light of day?  How could the vet analyzing the corpses missed the fact that there were animal bites all over the dead cats?  Was the police department so desperate to put a warm body in front of the public to calm them down in light of all these dead cats turning up that they circumvented normal logical police work?  Did the vet that concluded the Tyler Weinman killed these cats really even look at the corpses or did he rubber stamp the cops conclusions that the boy was guilty?

So what's this Cat Killer business have to do with our story?  Think about it for a moment, analysis of the evidence was a disaster...

Barrera Loan Application for Oak Avenue Home                                                            

Thank You Letter From Citi Mortgage to Bernardo Barrera for the Purchase of the Oak Avenue Home                                                            

Florida Mortgage Broker Contract With Real Bernardo Barrera Signature                                                            

Incompetence from those investigating the crime...

Our esteemed commenter goes on to say that he's amazed that the vet doesn't know what a cat looks like after a dog eats it, we can say the same thing about the Barrera mortgage fraud case, how the hell could cops and prosecutors not recognize a simple Straw Buyer mortgage fraud?  Lastly he leaves us with this bit...
In any sane society, careers would end over a mistake like this.
Exactly.  The charges are dropped, the kid goes on his way and everyone's lives are supposed to go back to normal yet the cops who created this mess go unpunished.   Good luck with that.

Friday, December 17, 2010

For fucks sake, enough with the Cat Killer already!

For those of us here in South Florida we're all too familiar with the cats that were found dead and mutilated in a South Miami neighborhood and the man who was subsequently charged with their mutilations, Tyler Hayes Weinman, aka "the Cat Killer".  A few weeks back though, after a careful review of the facts, the State Attorneys Office decided to drop the charges against Mr. Weinman, turns out after further examination of the mutilated cats, experts concluded that they were killed by other animals.  Good enough right?  Problem is Mr. Weinman has been all over the media since the charges were dropped, here he is last night on CBS4...

The family is interviewing attorneys for a civil suit?  I fail to understand who he's going to file suit against, I mean it's terrible that he was charged, but the system worked, the prosecutors did the right thing and dropped the charges.  Now I could understand the family filing suit against the PD or the SAO if there was say...
  • Evidence of the police fabricating evidence.
  • Evidence of the police coercing witnesses.
  • Evidence of the police perjuring themselves.
  • Evidence of the police and prosecutors hiding exculpatory evidence.
  • Etc...
Under those circumstances, sure go ahead and sue, otherwise, it's too bad you were caught in the system, but in the end the prosecutors did the right thing and the outcome was just.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Back to that real estate purchase contract addendum that we began discussing the other day.

Let's take another look...

From the beginning...
Seller: ___________ Esq. as Personal representative of the estate of ________________
Ok, here we're establishing that an attorney is representing the estate that owns the home that's in question, no problem.
Buyer and seller agree to increase sales price to $220,000.
Wait a minute, why are we increasing the price of the home?  Isn't this a clear cut case of "an attorney inflating the price of the property"?  Interesting.
Seller hereby agrees to contribute $10,500 toward buyer's closing costs.
Oh really?  The seller is going to contribute 4.7% of the purchase price to the buyer.
Seller will pay documentary stamps based on $175,000.  Buyer agrees to pay the balance of the documentary stamps for the seller.
Oh Ok!  Alarm bells going off yet?  Buyer is going to pay the doc stamps on the $45,000 difference?
Seller hereby agrees to payoff (sic) a private loan to _________ in the amount of $45,105.00.  
HUH?!  WTF is that about?
Realtors commission in based on 3% each of $175,000.00
Fantastic!  Is it just me or is this a clear example of an attorney artificially inflating the price of a home by $45,000?  Does anyone see any parallels between this transaction and the fraudulent transaction that Attorney David Rodriguez put together back in the Miami Dade Mortgage Fraud Task Forces case #1?  In both instances the attorneys were putting together deals with inflated sales prices, the only difference was that Mr. Rodriguez was concocting the deal with an undercover cop, in this instance the attorney not only engineered the deal but also put it on paper and signed off on it!  

The other difference between the two cases?  This attorney didn't get arrested.  More coming...

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

An early Christmas present, the Straw Buyer keeps a promise to Bernardo Barrera...

This morning I was ready to discuss the ramifications of the fraudulent addendum that we mentioned yesterday but we got something in the mail that's going to completely change the course of our blog. For the astute among who have been following our blog it's obvious, nothing groundbreaking, just an affirmation of what we already suspected. Before we discuss this new development, we're going to consult with legal counsel and run it past the proper authorities, so be patient.

Now, about that promise we made to Bernardo Barrera, the man who claimed his identity was stolen for the purpose of defrauding CitiMortgage. A few weeks before the inception of our blog, I managed to track down Mr. Barrera and get him on the phone, the tone of his voice spoke volumes, he certainly didn't sound like the innocent victim that he made himself out to be to the police and the courts. Mr. Barrera checks our blog three times a day at the very least from his new digs in Panama, so I'm going to address this bit to Mr. Barrera himself. Bernie, do you remember what I told you on the phone that day back in the summer of 2009? I told you that I wasn't going to rest until I put your fat ass in jail, I told you that I knew what you had done and was going to make sure that even if it was the last thing I ever did, I was going to make sure you were brought to justice. Think back on that conversation Mr. Barrera and remember what happened back in the end of 1989, think back to Operation Just Cause...

Think back Bernie to that other assclown that thought he was safe in Panama...

Like I told you Bernie, I'm coming for you and I'm not going to do it with the lightweights at the MDPD or the State Attorneys Office who have a vested interest in hiding your complicity, I'm gonna be coming with the feds.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A dubious real estate purchase contract addendum...

Considering all the different types of real estate related fraud that we've discussed in the past, this purchase contract addendum really takes the cake (click on image to enlarge)...

Oh really now?  Go back and take a closer look at what this addendum lays out and consider that it was prepared by an attorney.  Interesting...

Monday, December 13, 2010

The justice system at its worse...

Just when you think you've seen everything wrong with our justice system, lying cops, dishonest prosecutors, etc, then something like the story of Kevin Cooper comes up.  From the New York Times article...

Framed for Murder?

“California may be about to execute an innocent man.”
That’s the view of five federal judges in a case involving Kevin Cooper, a black man in California who faces lethal injection next year for supposedly murdering a white family. The judges argue compellingly that he was framed by police.
Mr. Cooper’s impending execution is so outrageous that it has produced a mutiny among these federal circuit court judges, distinguished jurists just one notch below the United States Supreme Court. But the judicial process has run out for Mr. Cooper. Now it’s up to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to decide whether to commute Mr. Cooper’s sentence before leaving office.
This case, an illuminating window into the pitfalls of capital punishment, dates to a horrific quadruple-murder in June 1983. Doug and Peggy Ryen were stabbed to death in their house, along with their 10-year-old daughter and an 11-year-old houseguest. The Ryens’ 8-year-old son, Josh, was left for dead but survived. They were all white.
Josh initially told investigators that the crime had been committed by three people, all white, although by the trial he suggested that he had seen just one person with an Afro. The first version made sense because the weapons included a hatchet, an ice pick and one or two knives. Could one intruder juggling several weapons overpower five victims, including a 200-pound former Marine like Doug Ryen, who also had a loaded rifle nearby?
But the police learned that Mr. Cooper had walked away from the minimum security prison where he was serving a burglary sentence and had hidden in an empty home 125 yards away from the crime scene. The police decided that he had committed the crime alone.
William A. Fletcher, a federal circuit judge, explained his view of what happens in such cases in a law school lecture at Gonzaga University, in which he added that Mr. Cooper is “probably” innocent: “The police are under heavy pressure to solve a high-profile crime. They know, or think they know, who did the crime. And they plant evidence to help their case along.”
Judge Fletcher wrote an extraordinary judicial opinion — more than 100 pages when it was released — dissenting from the refusal of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to rehear the case. The opinion is a 21st-century version of Émile Zola’s famous “J’Accuse.”
Mr. Fletcher, a well-respected judge and former law professor, was joined in his “J’Accuse” by four other circuit judges. Six more wrote their own dissents calling for the full Ninth Circuit to rehear the case. But they fell just short of the votes needed for rehearing.
Judge Fletcher laid out countless anomalies in the case. Mr. Cooper’s blood showed up on a beige T-shirt apparently left by a murderer near the scene, but that blood turned out to have a preservative in it — the kind of preservative used by police when they keep blood in test tubes.
Then a forensic scientist found that a sample from the test tube of Mr. Cooper’s blood held by police actually contained blood from more than one person. That leads Mr. Cooper’s defense team and Judge Fletcher to believe that someone removed blood and then filled the tube back to the top with someone else’s blood.
The police also ignored other suspects. A woman and her sister told police that a housemate, a convicted murderer who had completed his sentence, had shown up with several other people late on the night of the murders, wearing blood-spattered overalls and driving a station wagon similar to the one stolen from the murdered family.
They said that the man was no longer wearing the beige T-shirt he had on earlier in the evening — the same kind as the one found near the scene. And his hatchet, which resembled the one found near the bodies, was missing from his tool area. The account was supported by a prison confession and by witnesses who said they saw a similar group in blood-spattered clothes in a nearby bar that night. The women gave the bloody overalls to the police for testing, but the police, by now focused on Mr. Cooper, threw the overalls in the trash.
This case is a travesty. It underscores the central pitfall of capital punishment: no system is fail-safe. How can we be about to execute a man when even some of America’s leading judges believe he has been framed?
Lanny Davis, who was the White House counsel for President Bill Clinton, is representing Mr. Cooper pro bono. He laments: “The media and the bar have gone deaf and silent on Kevin Cooper. My simple theory: heinous brutal murder of white family and black convict. Simple as that.”
That’s a disgrace that threatens not only the life of one man, but the honor of our judicial system. Governor Schwarzenegger, are you listening? 

Incredible.  Just another instance of law enforcement needing a warm body to pacify the public with and the prosecutors railroading a guy despite proof of his innocence.  Mr. Kristof sums it up most eloquently...
That’s a disgrace that threatens not only the life of one man, but the honor of our judicial system.
Good luck Mr. Cooper, hopefully common sense will prevail.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Thursday, December 9, 2010

New tougher licensing requirements for mortgage brokers, a little too late don't you think?

Where was all this increased regulation over the last decade?  Come on, really?

From the Miami Herald article...
Individuals and businesses who want to work in the mortgage industry in Florida are running out of time to apply for licenses under the new, tougher rules.
Only about a quarter of Florida's 43,000 mortgage industry professionals have applied for licenses under the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System, meaning the rest could be barred from working in the industry on Jan. 1.
Applications have been accepted since Oct. 1, and each will take up to three months to process. The new, tougher licensing rules require a state and federal background check, required education, proof that an applicant has tried to take state and national tests and a credit report.
Old rules required a state criminal background check once, and licenses could be renewed every two years without additional criminal screenings. Licenses could be revoked if mortgage sellers were charged for a crime after that, but the state relied on the brokers to report criminal charges filed against them.
Those who turn in applications by Jan. 1 can keep working while their paperwork is processed.
It's unclear why more brokers haven't applied. Since the peak of the housing market about five years ago, the number of registered mortgage brokers in Florida has dropped by about half, said Flora Beal, a spokeswoman for the Florida Office of Financial Regulation.
The fees may be a deterrent she said, or people may simply be procrastinating.
A 2008 Miami Herald report, called Borrowers Betrayed, showed that state regulators allowed thousands of people with criminal histories -- including armed robbers and cocaine traffickers -- to work in the mortgage industry since 2000.
Individuals, companies and branch offices must apply for licenses. So far, the state has received about 10,300 individual applications, though there are four times as many mortgage brokers licensed now under existing rules.
About 1,000 of nearly 7,000 companies have applied, and 727 of 3,116 branch offices have filed applications.
``The longer you wait the more risk you take, and the last thing we want to see is Floridians who are unable to legally continue working in the mortgage industry just because they didn't get their applications in on time,'' said Tom Cardwell, commissioner of the Florida Office of Financial Regulation.
A little too late for these new "tougher rules" isn't it?  Where was all this increased regulation of mortgage brokers six or seven years ago or were all the regulatory bodies just looking the other way while the real estate bubble inflated?  What's the point of  the tougher licensing requirements now after the party's over?  Is this just another example of window dressing by authorities to make it look like they're doing something about the last decade of massive fraud that lead to the real estate meltdown?  This part really gets me...
It's unclear why more brokers haven't applied. 
More brokers haven't applied for new licenses because there are hardly any left!  They've either moved on to the next scam or are at your local fast food joint flipping burgers or sweeping the floor.   Come on Miami Herald, you can do better than that!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Sally who?

We left off on Monday discussing disbarred attorney Sally Sawh who the state alleges made off with nearly two million dollars of her clients monies.  From a quick Google search we stumbled upon some YouTube videos of Ms. Sawh mentoring some Dade county school kids, great.  As I mentioned on Monday though, there was something weird about those YouTube videos, come to think of it, I can't even figure out how I found them as they have no reference to anyone named Sally Sawh anywhere on them.  Instead the videos refer to someone named Sallyann Della Casa.  HUH?  I wonder, why the change in name?  Regardless, we now seem to find Sally Sawh AKA Sallyann Della Casa in Trinidad mentoring kids...

Interesting, from what we've been able to find Sally Sawh or Sallyann Della Casa has started an organization in Trinidad called the "Growing Leaders Foundation", from the Trinidad Guardian article...
Della Casa asked, “If this programme can save one child from becoming a criminal down the road, why not give the company a credit for it?”
Great point!  This mentoring program warrants a closer look, more tomorrow.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Where in the world is Sally Sawh?

Anyone?  Any idea what happened to disbarred attorney Sally Sawh who the state alleges stole $2,000,000 of clients money that was deposited in her trust account?  We talked about Sally a little over a year ago, here's a snippet from the Daily Business Review to refresh your memory...

Yikes!  So what's Sally been up to lately?  All we've been able to find are some bizarro YouTube videos...

From the videos description we get the following:
Sally teaching kids during a Kapow session. Sally has been a mentor for Dade County School kids for the last 5 years. She no longer practices law but still continues to inspire kids as she pursues her masters in Urban Planning and her dreams of a diplomatic career.
That's nice isn't it?  The law thing didn't really work out, so instead she's taken the time to mentor Dade County School kids, that's fantastic.  

There's a problem though, something seemed bizarre about that video, I watched and re-watched it till I figured it out.  Anyone else pick up on it?   More tomorrow...

Thursday, December 2, 2010

An interesting comment from one of our readers regarding Ocean Waves Powerboats...

Last August we examined the police report from the first case where Mr. Bernardo Barrera claimed his identity was stolen and found some glaring inconsistencies within the statement that was given to the police by the principal of company who was involved in the identity theft.  While going through old posts last night, we came across this comment left by one of our readers...

Anonymous said...
I been following this case since you put the 1st comment, i did my personal investigation, and i find out the owner of Ocean Waves is not Alex Orriols is own by guy by the name of Heriberto Leon AKA:PUPE & his Wife Celeste Valle, who has real bad reputation in North Miami where he owns 8 more business the are been investigating for fraud. I took the time to drive by Mr.Leon business, Ocean Waves and find out the Mr Leon got arrested and release for identity theft and having stolen property in his business and having stolen motors in his personal boat, i talk to a employee and ask them for Alex Orriols and they tell me the he had left the company. honestly i think this guy Alex is a victim from the owner of the company, who is been using over 10 people to be registered owners in the corporation to avoid liability.Check public records & Sunbiz to see how many register owner this company had in the pass.
Interesting, we'll have to take a closer look.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

More fun with handwriting and signature samples!

I'm tired of being accused of being a conspiracy theorist, it's time to take the tinfoil hats off.

Way back in March we discussed some signature samples that we collected from various documents that Mr. Bernardo Barrera, the man who claims his identity was stolen for the purpose of defrauding CitiMortgage, executed over the last five years, among these 21 signatures we included there were seven that Mr Barrera and the state allege are forgeries.  Take a look...

Our readers chimed in back in March and gave their opinions on which signatures were real and which were fake after which we published which signatures were allegedly real and which were fake, it went as follows:
  1. A and B were obtained from Bernardo Barrera's divorce file from back in 2005.
  2. C was obtained from a letter Mr. Barrera wrote to the court in regards to the civil foreclosure of the oak avenue home.
  3. D and E were signatures obtained from the documents on file with the state of Florida for the fraudulent corporation that Mr. Barrera opened back in late 2008.
  4. F through L were signatures that we obtained from the loan application that was submitted for the fraudulent mortgage for the Oak Avenue home.
  5. M through R were signatures obtained from the mortgage for Mr. Barrera's primary residence.
  6. And last but not least, S, T and U were signatures that Mr. Barrera submitted to the MDPD as samples of his real signature!

Good enough right?  Not really.  I'd like to make sure things are crystal clear before we move forward and don't want any confusion regarding these signatures or the allegations I've made since the inception of this blog, so I've decided to forward these signatures to a handwriting expert for analysis.  Here's what I'm offering; if the handwriting expert comes back and says that signatures F through L are indeed forgeries, then I'll end this blog right away with an apology to Mr. Barrera, if there results show otherwise then it's game on...