Friday, April 30, 2010

Top cop Glenn Theobalds last day at the Miami Dade Police Department?

That's what we were told by one of our sources this morning.  From what we were told, today will be Glenn Theobalds last day working for the MDPD.  We've discussed Mr. Theobald before, he was the chief legal counsel of the Miami Dade Police Department as well as the man responsible for drafting and lobbying for Florida State Statute 817.545  and the creator of the Miami Dade County Mortgage Fraud Task Force.  To say that this comes as a surprise is an understatement.  Take a look at Mr. Theobald testifying on January 14, 2010 before the Financial Crisis Inquiry commission in DC...



After watching Mr. Theobalds testimony, does he seem like someone that's going to resign his post just four months later?  What the hell happened?  Was it the MDPD Green Fund Scandal?  Was it simply the new Miami Dade County Police Department Director James Loftus cleaning house?  Considering the magnitude of what Mr. Theobald has accomplished in the field of mortgage fraud, how the hell was he allowed to resign, if indeed he did?  Who's going to take his place that has his credentials and qualifications?  It's a damn shame.


So what now?  Mr. Theobalds Mortgage Fraud Task Force was well intentioned, but as we know it's performance (at least in our opinion) was less than stellar.  It's a shame that his hard work and effort in creating the task force was rewarded by lackluster performance by everyone else down the line.  


Whatever the case may be, if indeed Mr. Theobald  has stepped down, we wish him the best of luck with his next endevor...

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Hey Bernie, let's go boating!


Sure, why not? Doesn't Bernardo Barrera have a boat?  Surely you all remember that right before Mr. Bernardo Barrera claimed his identity was stolen by John Romney and crew for the Oak Avenue mortgage fraud scheme, he claimed his identity was stolen by another group to obtain a loan for the purchase of a boat.  What if anything does this have to do with the mortgage fraud story?  Let's start with the police report for this "boat deal"...

Bernardo Barrera Boat Identity Theft Police Report                                                            

Well, what do you know, Mr. Barrera tells the police that for reasons unbeknown to us or anyone else with a modicum of common sense, on February 8, 2008 he just decides out of the blue to check his credit report and finds a new loan that was opened up under his name without his knowledge.  Wow!  What are the chances?  That's the exact same way he found out about the fraudulent loan for the Oak Avenue home just a little over a month later!  We know Mr. Barrera has had trouble, according to him, receiving letters from different lending institutions at his primary residence, just a little while back we found at least 5 letters that Citi Mortgage sent to his primary residence in reference to the Oak Avenue home mortgage well before he claimed he found out about the fraud.  Do you guys think there's a chance that the bank that lent the money on this fraudulent boat deal could have possibly sent Mr. Barrera some correspondences regarding this loan to his primary residence before February 8 when he claimed he found out about the fraudulent activity on his credit report?  What are the chances?  Take a look for yourselves...

Bernardo Barrera Boat Loan Statement                                                            

What are the chances?  How much mail must have been going to Mr. Barrera's home that somehow never made it to Mr. Barrera?  Take a look at the pertinent dates on this loan statement, from what we can see it looks like the statement was mailed by GE Money bank on 1/25/08 from Atlanta, so how long could it have taken for the statement to reach Mr. Barrera's home?  Let's see, the 25th was a Friday, so lets say for the sake of argument that the mail takes 5 days to get to Mr. Barrera's home, that would put the statement in his mailbox no later than 1/31/08.  Now the reality is that mail from Atlanta to Miami takes no more than 3 days and is sometimes delivered in just 2 days, but for our purposes lets just assume that the statement was received on the 31st.  If that's the case then what did Mr. Barrera do with this statement during the seven days before he reported the identity theft?  Can anyone guess why Mr. Barrera waited till 2/8/08 to report this case?  We'll give you a hint, the answer is in the other documents that he supposedly didn't receive.

Does anything else about this loan statement for the fraudulent boat purchase strike you guys as strange?  Take a closer look at the statement, specifically the part that says "payment allocation"...



SEE THAT!  Someone made a payment on the loan!  WTF?!  Who the hell made the payment and how did they do it?  If you look back at the Maria Teresa Lopez and Irina Jackeline Ball mortgage fraud and identity theft case you'll see that there were payments made on that fraudulent loan as well.  In that case the police got copies of the money orders that were used to make the payments with, traced them back to where they were purchased and then were able to identify who actually purchased the money orders.  According to the affidavit in support of the arrest warrant in that case, the store owner who issued the money orders was able to positively identify one of the defendants as the person who purchased the money orders and that helped solve the PD's identity theft case.  Now, could you imagine if we were actually able to find out how the two payments on the fraudulent boat loan were made?  Check out what some good old fashioned investigating will get you...

Cashiers Check 1                                                            

And...

Cashiers Check 2                                                            

NICE!  You have to wonder though, does the PD have these money orders?  Surely if they did they would have traced where they were purchased from, gone over there and interviewed who ever issued the checks right?  PUHLEEZE!  Even worse, do you think Detective Baluja (while he was the lead on the mortgage fraud case) even checked into this case?  We'll discuss tomorrow, we've gone way over our daily quota of FAIL!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Another angle from the Maria Teresa Lopez case and how it applies to the Bernardo Barrera Mortgage Fraud case.

In reviewing the affidavit in support of the arrest warrant for Maria Teresa Lopez and Irina Jackeline Ball, we came across this bit of information that sparked our interest...
Although the WFHL loan application indicates it was taken in a face-to-face interview with WFHL loan officer Zoe Azpeitia. Porter stated she does not know and has never met Zoe Azpeitia.
Mrs. Porter is the woman whose identity Lopez and Ball allegedly stole in order to defraud the lender for Ms. Ball's unit at the Murano Grande.  One of the first steps in their mortgage fraud scheme is to fill out a loan application for the person who they were going to get a mortgage under, in this case, Mrs. Delores Porter.  One aspect of the loan application that's been overlooked in many of these identity theft cases is the part at the very end of the loan application where it says 
 "interviewer's name"
From what we've been told, this is where the mortgage broker who took the application has to sign attesting that he/she took the information from the borrower and that to the best of their ability have determined that the information is true and correct.  In the Porter Identity theft case the loan officer that conducted this "face to face" interview was a loan officer named Zoe Azpeitia, when Ms. Azpeitia was later deposed regarding the Porter matter, she tells the attorneys that... 
(Zoe Azpeitia was deposed by attorneys from Cohen Fox, PA on October 8''', 2009.) In that deposition, Azpeitia stated that she did not conduct a face-to face interview with Porter.
Oh, OK.  According to the police report, Mrs. Porter's identity was stolen and now according to Ms. Azpeitia, whose name appears on the loan application as the interviewer, her identity must have been stolen as well?  Ok, got it.  So what's the tie in to the Bernardo Barrera Mortgage Fraud Case?  Easy, there was a similar 1003 loan application for Barrera case as well, let's take a look...

Barrera Loan Application for Oak Avenue Home                                                            

Oh nice!  See that signature at the bottom where it says interviewer's name?  Whether the man who signed as the borrower was the real Barrera or an impostor, this man who conducted the interview or took the loan application met with him face to face according to this document.  Now, considering what we know about Mr. Barrera's signature, we can only conclude that the signature on this page is Mr. Barrera's real signature.  If you follow that line of reasoning, then we have someone now (the interviewer) that came face to face with Mr. Barrera and took a loan application for what we now know was a transaction designed to defraud Citi Mortgage.  

There is something else though, we learned through an email written by none other than Assistant State Attorney Bill Kostrzewski (we're saving that gem for later) that it's the mortgage brokers that are responsible for...
"verifying the accuracy of employment and assets listed by the potential borrowers."
That's fantastic Mr. Kostrzewski!  By the tone of your email, it looks like you're finally paying attention, albeit about two years too late.  So, who verified Mr. Barrera's employment status for the Oak Avenue Mortgage Fraud?  Let's take a look...

Bernardo Barrera Verification of Employment                                                            

Sweet!  The same guy that took Mr. Barrera's loan application also verified his employment!  What are the chances?  So now, we have two more people to add into the mix, the guy that took the loan application and verified Mr. Barrera's employment and now some guy named Rolando Rosa confirmed that Mr. Barrera was a sales manager at Miryil Enterprises.  The question that begs to be asked though is why was this aspect of the Bernardo Barrera case completely ignored by the police and the prosecutors?  This confirmation of employment as well as the mortgage brokers signature at the bottom of the loan application certainly does muddy the waters for the states case doesn't it?  Rather than complicate their case we guess they just decided to look past these pertinent facts.  Nice going guys.


Moving along, yesterday we get this message from one of our readers...
Why be anonymous? It seems to me you should take credit for the vast information you claim to know and have so generously provided. What are you afraid of? You should also remember that what goes around comes around......your thyroid cancer may just come back. 
OH NO!  THYROID CANCER?!  As far as I know there's never been anything wrong with my Thyroid, what's the deal?  FCUK!    Does this reader know something that we don't know?  Should we get our thyroid checked out?!  DAMN!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A common theme throughout the Lopez bar petitions.

Did anyone notice what the underlying theme was throughout the Maria Teresa Lopez and Guillermo Napoleon Lopez emergency bar petitions?  Detective Baluja and ASA Bill Kostrzewski should have, the reoccurring theme and phrase throughout both complaints is...
"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
That's just a few examples of how the Lopez crew "failed to follow closing instructions."  Worst of all, the intention of the closing agents who did not follow the closing instructions was clearly fraud and theft for the Lopez siblings directly profited from their illegal acts, from what we can see, all told they made off with hundreds of thousands of dollars of ill gotten gains. 

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."


Monday, April 26, 2010

A new character in the Maria Teresa Lopez and Irina Jackeline Ball mortgage fraud story, Guillermo Napoleon Lopez.

Last week we learned about the very unlawyerly behavior of attorney Maria Teresa Lopez which eventually led to her disbarment. Together with her partner in crime, Irina Jackeline Ball, both the Florida Bar and the MDPD has accused them both of not only running mortgage fraud scams, not paying off mortgages at closing and stealing peoples identities, but of not even recording the transactions and the mortgages! In a nutshell from the documentation we've been able to find, these two were simply getting the money from the lenders, laundering the money through different title companies and ultimately pocketing the funds!
 

So how does a disbarred attorney get away with such mayhem? At first we learned that Ms. Lopez was doing these transactions through attorney Darlene Fernandez Carus who claims that these transactions were going through her law office and the funds were being disbursed from her trust account without her knowledge, yeah, ok. What's really sad and what truly reflects what kind of people we're talking about here is where this evil duo sent the money from Darlene Fernandez Carus's trust account, Ms. Lopez used her younger brother's (who happened to be an attorney as well) trust account to distribute her ill gotten gains, ultimately causing her brother to lose his license to practice law as well. Let's take a look at Florida Bar's petition for Mr. Lopez' emergency suspension...

Guillermo Napoleon Lopez Petition for Emergency Suspension

From the bar's petition...
4- Respondent facilitated the misappropriation in excess of $200,000 of trust funds by his sister, Maria T. Lopez, an attorney that was emergency suspended on October 29, 2008  Said funds were provided by a lender for the purposes of the Irina Ball (seller) to Delores Porter (borrower) closing of property located at 400 Alton Road, #2309, Miami Beach, Fl.
That's nice, this would be the same transaction that we discussed on Friday that finally caused the Mortgage Fraud Task Force to go ahead and arrest Ms. Lopez and crew.  It gets better...
5- Additionally, Respondent was the settlement agent for real estate transactions where he failed to disburse monies in accordance with the HUD-1 settlement statements, including failure to pay off mortgages that were required to be satisfied at closing.  Additionally, in at least one instance, Respondent failed to record a deed and mortgage for a transaction where he was the settlement agent.
Oh boy.  It gets better and better...
17- On April 27, 2009, Respondent received $312,490.98 from Susan Friedman towards the purchase of property located at 5225 Collins Avenue, unit 106, Miami Beach, Fl 33139.  On same date, Respondent wired Irina Ball $250,000 per instructions from seller, Jose R. Gonzalez.  The disbursement instructions indicated that in lieu of satisfying Jose R. Gonzalez's mortgage at Washington Mutual of $272,890.00, monies were to be given to Irina Ball and upon the sale of Irina Ball's property at 6101 Aqua Avenue, unit #301, Miami Beach, Fl 33140, Respondent could then satisfy Mr. Gonzalez's mortgage with Washington Mutual.
Oh really? 
18- On May 13, 2009 Respondent was wired $674,648.36 from Pathman Lewis, LLP in regard to the sale of the property at 6101 Aqua Avenue, unit #301.  Respondent paid approximately $524,000 to Irina Ball, the seller instead of satisfying two Countrywide mortgages as indicated on the HUD-1.
Did Mr. Lopez miss the following closing instructions?
"The sellers will not receive any proceeds from this short sale transaction"

What the fcuk?  Here's the question that begs to be asked, using ASA Bill Kostrzewski's prosecution of the Bernardo Barrera mortgage fraud as a template, why weren't the other attorneys, Darlene Fernandez Carus and Guillermo Napoleon Lopez arrested?  Why haven't charges been brought against the rest of the people involved in these frauds?  An even more pressing question is WHAT IN THE FCUK DID THESE PEOPLE THINK THEY WERE DOING?  This is some of the most egregious real estate fraud that we've ever seen, how did these idiots think they were going to get away with it?


Jeeze.  What's even sadder is that Ms. Lopez not only destroyed her own career but decided to take her brothers down the drain with her.  Incredible.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Possibly the most bizarre police report that we've ever come across...

Meeting people online that like to smell each others farts can only lead to this...

Flatulence and Rape Police Report                                                            

Friday, April 23, 2010

Fraud? That's an understatement, more on the Maria Teresa Lopez story and introducing the "Mortgage Fraud Troll"...

We've spent the last couple of days discussing the case of Maria Teresa Lopez, a disbarred attorney that is in the middle of a whole mess of fraud.  We discussed a laundry list of frauds that the Florida Bar discovered on Tuesday, yet the fraud she finally got arrested for wasn't the fraud that the bar had discovered.  Let's take a look at the booking info for Ms. Lopez as provide by the Miami Dade County corrections department (as always click on the image to enlarge)...


NICE!  Check out the bail amount, $1,000,000!  We'll get into what she did in a bit, now let's take a look at her partner in crime, Irina Jackeline Ball...


Oh my, $800,000 bail?  Even worse, 5'7", 220 lbs, and that face...


Ready for it?


Wasn't she one of the characters from that movie "Lord of the Rings"?  Because of that build, that face and the audacity of the mortgage frauds she committed, Ms. Ball has earned the title of "Mortgage Fraud Troll".  Now we're sure that you guys think that's a bit harsh, trust us, when you learn what she's done, you'll agree that the name is perfect for her.  Let's go to the affidavit in support of the arrest warrant that was filed by Detective Tamma Hartman of the Miami Dade Mortgage Fraud Task Force against Ms. Lopez and the Mortgage Fraud Troll...

Maria Teresa Lopez Irina Jackeline Ball Affidavit in Support of Arrest Warrant                                                            

The first thing that strikes us as strange is the following:
"Your co-affiant is Frank Gramlich a private investigator with the Xavier Group and a retired agent from the Federal Bureau of Investigations..."
What the hell is that about?  Someone that's not a cop can write up an arrest affidavit?  We know that Detective Hartman is green and that this is probably the first case she's ever been the lead on, but we didn't realize that she needed help from someone from outside the PD!  WTF?!  As you can see, this case is based on a condo located at 400 Alton Road AKA the Murano Grande, the story is rather complicated so let's try to make it a little easier and break it down into a clear time line...
  • 11/30/07 Ball AKA the "Mortgage Fraud Troll" signs a purchase contract to purchase the unit for $850,000.
  • 2/19/08 The "Mortgage Fraud Troll" gets a mortgage from Victor K. Rones for $510,000 on the property even though she hasn't closed on it yet.
  • 2/22/08 Closing occurs yet the HUD-1 reflects that the sale is all cash with no mortgage (uh oh).
  • 2/25/08 $838,283.50 is wired from the "Lopez" trust account to the seller yet it seems as if $154,323.50 comes from other clients of "Lopez" and not the "Mortgage Fraud Troll".
  • 3/5/10 Lender Rones files a foreclosure suit against the "Mortgage Fraud Troll" and files a lis pendens against the subject property.
  • 9/23/09 Lender Rones gets a final judgment against the "Mortgage Fraud Troll".
  • 9/26/08 "Mortgage Fraud Troll" sells property to someone who has stolen the identity of Delores Porter for $521,250.  "Lopez" closes the transaction despite there being a lis pendens from the original lender whose mortgage she forgot to record.  Keep in mind the "Mortgage Fraud Troll" had just purchased the unit seven months earlier for over $300,000 MORE!  Once loan is funded, no one pays off the original mortgage (which "Lopez" had failed to record) for $510,000!!!
HOLY $HIT!  WTF?!  Let's take a break for a moment and take into account that Ms. Lopez was not allowed to write title insurance with Attorneys Title since November 2007 and was doing real estate closings through another attorney, one Darlene Fernandez Carus.  Ms. Carus makes the following representation according to the affidavit:
"Carus claims that this and other closings were executed by "LOPEZ" in Carus' name without her knowledge or supervision..."
WHAT?!


So we're to believe that Attorney Carus had no idea what Ms. Lopez and the "Mortgage Fraud Troll" were doing and that she had no knowledge of the hundreds of thousands of dollars going through her trust account?


Ms. Carus would have us to believe that the disbursement checks and wire transfers were made from her trust account without her knowledge?


Ms. Carus expects us to believe that Ms. Lopez had access to her trust account and was able to prepare all these documents with her name on it and still, she had no knowledge?  


Ms Carus saw the "Mortgage Fraud Troll" trolling around her office and didn't run for the nearest exit or jump out the nearest window?!  PUHLEEZE!  Getting back to our time line...
  • 9/29/08 $519,858.18 gets wired into Attorney Carus' trust account (of which she has no knowledge of according to her statement to the police), the entire proceeds are then wire transferred out of Carus' trust account (again without her knowledge) and into "Lopez's" account at City National Bank.  We can only presume that Lopez was then going to pay off the mortgage that she had forgotten to record seven months earlier?!  LOL!
  • 9/30/08 Ms. Lopez then wires $148,872.65 to the "Mortgage Fraud Troll" HUH?!  What about paying off the first mortgage?!
  • 10/28/08 Ms. Lopez knowing that she's going to be suspended by the Florida Bar the next day takes the remaining money out of her trust account ($353,678.97) and wires it to her brothers account who also happens to be an attorney.  From this money, Lopez hauls ass with $228,123.98 and the brother distributes $125,554.99 to other clients without ever satisfying the original mortgage from 2/08!
HOLY CRAP!  How the hell did they think that they were going to pull this one off?  WTF?  Knowing what we know from the Bernardo Barrera case where the attorney whose office conducted the closing was arrested, why wasn't the attorney whose office conducted this closing arrested?  Are you telling us she got off because she said "she had no knowledge" of what was going on?  Pfft!  While we're at it, why wasn't Ms. Lopez's brother arrested?  Give me a fcuking break. 

So what do we come away with this week?  We learned from the Florida Bar the villainous activities that lead up to the disbarring of Maria Teresa Lopez, we then learned that she was arrested by the Miami Dade County Mortgage Fraud Task Force on a completely unrelated fraud over a year later than the ones that the bar had found and today we're shown what kind of unconscionable mortgage fraud Ms. Lopez and the "Mortgage Fraud Troll" had committed all while the attorney whose office handled the closing had no idea or knowledge of what was going on (HAH!).  Most importantly from the text of the affidavit in support of the arrest warrant we learn that more than likely the inexperienced Detective from the mortgage fraud task force didn't put together the case or write the affidavit but that the case and the affidavit were probably put together by a retired FBI agent working for a private non government firm.  Sort of like training wheels for the Detective!  NICE!

We'll leave you this Friday with a cure for an ailment that men who take Viagra or Cialis may suffer from.  Surely you all have heard of priapism, the medical condition where the males genitals do not return to their flaccid state, despite the absence of both physical and psychological stimulation, within four hours.  Rest easy gents suffering from priapism, we here at the Straw Buyer have found the cure, if you're suffering from this most horrible ailment, just click here and you'll be cured.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

What do you get when you cross a crooked attorney and a washed up NFL player? MORTGAGE FRAUD, FOOL!

We learned about disbarred attorney Maria Teresa Lopez yesterday, what was most interesting though is that the MDPD nor the Miami Dade County Mortgage fraud task force did ANYTHING about the millions of dollars of fraud that she committed leading up to the Florida Bar disbarring her.  What gives?  Some of those frauds were from back in 2006 and the Mortgage Fraud Task Force didn't do anything about them?  What's worse is that the petitions for suspension by that bar could have been copied word for word into an arrest affidavit, they'd already done all the investigating and writing!  Cut and paste then VIOLA!  Instant arrest affidavit with all the documentation to back everything up, not to mention of far better quality than any arrest affidavit that we've seen to date.

So what did it take to finally bring the Mortgage Fraud Task Force to arrest Ms. Lopez?  Let's take a look at the article from the Sun Sentinel...
Former Dolphin Jamie Nails charged with fraud
Offensive lineman stole identity of ex-teammate’s grandmother, police say
Jamie Nails, a former Miami Dolphins and Buffalo Bills offensive lineman, is being charged with mortgage fraud after police say he stole the identity of the grandmother of a former teammate.

An arrest warrant was issued Tuesday for Nails, 34, who was believed to be in his native Georgia.

Miami-Dade prosecutors say the alleged victim is the grandmother of Nails' former Bills teammate Daryl Porter.

Also charged: Irina J. Ball, president of Pan American Investment and Mortgage Corp., and Maria T. Lopez, a Coral Gables lawyer disbarred in January for improper handling of client matters.

All are charged with organized fraud, organized scheme to defraud, first-degree grand theft and fraudulent use of an identity.

According to an arrest warrant made public Wednesday, Nails and Ball stole the identity of Delores Porter, 74, to obtain a $510,000 mortgage for a South Beach condominium in her name. Lopez acted as the deal's closing agent, according to Miami-Dade's Mortgage Fraud Task Force.

Prosecutors allege that Ball paid $49,625 to Nails as part of the deal. Nails could not be reached for comment Wednesday night.

This is Nails' second brush with the law since he left the NFL in 2003.

In November 2006, Fort Lauderdale police arrested Nails for grand theft after he failed to return a Chrysler 300 Touring to a rental car company. Records show he accepted a plea deal, agreeing to three years' probation plus restitution.

A 6-foot-6, 335-pound guard, Nails played college ball at Florida A&M and was drafted by Buffalo in 1997. He played four seasons there before signing with Miami.

But in December 2002, he tore his Achilles tendon and never again played up to his potential. He was released after the 2003 season and did not return to the NFL.

After his release, Nails coached for the Miami Fury woman's football team, and the short-lived indoor arena team the Miami Morays.
Wow.  The article is more about the football player than it is about the crooked attorney, that's in striking contrast to this article isn't it?  Looks like all the Task Force is concerned about is a scintillating headline, damn the real story!  There is something that doesn't seem right, from our research, the attorney was suspended from practicing back in 2008, the fraud that's described in the article above occurred either right when she was suspended or just afterwords, that's a problem as once an attorney is suspended, the Bar takes over their trust accounts and disburses any  monies that may be left over to makes sure there's no funny business going on, so who closed this crooked deal?  What did Ms. Lopez have to do with it and why wasn't the person who closed the deal arrested as well?  We'll take a look at that aspect of the story tomorrow, trust me what we're going to find is going to make your stomach turn.

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.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Come on, ARE WE ANY CLOSER?!

Journalists Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein had "Deep Throat" supplying them with information during the Watergate scandal, Jim Garrison had "Mr. X" that was giving him information during the aftermath of the JFK shooting, these were critical figures in the development of those cases, insiders that were giving important information and revealing which rocks to look under to out the bad guys involved.  Why would someone "inside" reveal the inner workings of these stories?  Perhaps these are people of high moral character that couldn't stand by and see government act in an illegal manner or people who simply couldn't stand by and stay quiet while the laws they swore to uphold were perverted for the gain of others.  

Throughout our story, we've had several people send us information regarding the players involved, sure we've had some that seem to have an axe to grind with the defendants or the people on the states side, but we've also had some very insightful remarks from people on the states side that are a lot closer to the cases we've discussed, most recently we've had a few comments from someone VERY close to the epicenter of this mess that we've been writing about, someone we'll call "1:49".  Most recently 1:49 has left the following comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...
You're so close to the real story but you just can't seem to nail it. 1:49
 and

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Its way too complicated and this comment box is way too small. Run the clip from "Silence of the Lambs" The climax scene where Jodi Foster stumbles in the darkness inches from the psycho killer. You're that close to it. 1:49

Jeeze, I remember that scene well, reminds me of this song...



1:49, we've put the lotion in the basket, we want to go home!  Throw us a bone, give us a hint, it's cold down here!  Like we said before, comments and tips are appreciated, but the riddles are maddening!


Moving on, today we have John Arthur Romney meeting with his attorney over at the state attorneys office.  From what we hear, the state is VERY displeased with the arrangement that ASA Kostrzewski made with Mr. Romney, in fact we were told that the plea agreement that Mr. Kostrzewski had prepared was so poorly written that it couldn't be used!  Nice going Bill!  You have to wonder, maybe the new head of the mortgage fraud task force unit at the state attorneys office can't stomach Mr. Romney getting a slap on the wrist after stealing nearly $400,000?  From what we've read in the case file, it looks like Mr. Romney and his attorney did a masterful job of selling him to Mr. Kostrzewski as a victim, show me where I can sign up to be a victim and walk with $400,000!  For Mr. Romneys sake, he better have some more people left to rat out...

Otherwise folks, according to the docket, the Bernardo Barrera mortgage fraud case is scheduled to go to trial on May 10, 2010, that's just 20 days away....

Monday, April 19, 2010

We're getting close?

According to one of our commenters over the weekend...
"Anonymous said...
You're so close to the real story but you just can't seem to nail it. 1:49"
That's great, a little help would be appreciated!  Let's look at what we do know, a few weeks back we reported on some chatter overheard at the courthouse, Assistant State Attorney Bill Kostrzewski utters these words...
"...I was under a lot of pressure."
Ok, but who was putting you under so much pressure to bring in a case?  Was it self imposed pressure to bring in a case on the one year anniversary of the Miami Dade County Mortgage Fraud Task forces first arrest?  Or was it pressure from the Mayors office not just make a headline case on the task forces one year anniversary but to bring in a "headline" case to support Senator Martinez and his bill to create a nationwide mortgage fraud task force to be modeled after the Mayor Carlos Alverez's own Miami Dade Mortgage Fraud task force?  Again, from our comments section, let's take a look at the subject line of the email that Senator Martinez's senior policy adviser Nilda R. Pedrosa sent out on October 1, 2008 to what we can only assume was members of the MDPD command staff and perhaps the Mayors office...
"MARTINEZ CALLS FOR ACTION ON MORTGAGE FRAUD TASK FORCE"

WOW!  So come on guys, Mel's got a bill before the senate to create a nationwide mortgage fraud task force modeled after the Mayors own task force, give us a case that we can PLASTER ALL OVER THE MEDIA to help his cause.  So now we know why there was a last minute rush to slam together a case, in fact one of our readers gives us this juicy bit of information...
Here's an early christmas present for you, Bill K was out sick all day on October 2, 2008 with an upper GI tract malady, intubated and undergoing tests, he actually came back to work very late in the day and was up with that weasel Baluja till the wee hours of the morning on the 3rd getting the arrest affidavit ready for the judge to sign.
 So if Detective Baluja working till 4 am throwing together the arrest affidavit wasn't enough, now we have a sickly emaciated prosecutor sitting along side him all night writing the arrest affidavit.  Are the defendants charged flight risks?  Violent criminals?  Nope.


At least now we know why Assistant State Attorney Bill Kostrzewski ordered the cops to go in and raid the attorneys office rather than give her the common courtesy of surrendering, we now know why the defendants had over $500,000 bail amounts when defendants charged with worse financial crimes get only a fraction of that and we know why there was pressure to bring this case in on October 3, 2008.  This was nothing more than a publicity stunt to further the political ambitions of the task forces leaders and to get more federal funding for the task force.  After all, more recognition, means more federal funding and with the creation of a nationwide mortgage fraud task force that's modeled after the Miami Dade Mortgage Fraud Task force, there certainly has to be all sorts of federal money for members of the task force to fly around the country and train Detectives in other jurisdictions about mortgage fraud, right?  Can you imagine Detective Baluja flying around the country teaching people about mortgages and real estate?  YIKES!  Also, take into account how having your name associated with this task force would look on your resume when running for a higher office...

So tell us 1:49, are we getting closer?

Friday, April 16, 2010

What's the damn rush Detective Baluja?

One thing that has struck us as strange throughout the Bernardo Barrera mortgage fraud story was how hastily the case was put together.  From what we can see in the states file, things were moving along at a conservative pace and then all of a sudden at the very beginning of October 2008 it seemed like someone lit a fire under the states ass, in fact Detective Baluja openly bragged about being up till 4 am on the date of the arrests getting the arrest affidavit ready for the judge to sign.  Why the damn rush all of a sudden?


While we were down at the courthouse the other day going through the case file, we noticed something that struck us as very strange, take a look...


That's the Bernardo Barrera mortgage fraud case file, notice that according the dates stamped on the folder the warrants were issued on October 3, 2008 and the arrests were made the same day, in fact the arrests were made mid morning on October 3.


Let's look at that time line again...
  1. Detective Baluja is up till 4 am on October 3, 2008 preparing the arrest affidavit.
  2. Arrest warrants signed by Judge Julio Jimenez sometime during the morning of October 3, 2008.
  3. Defendants arrested by mid morning October 3, 2008.
Does that sound kosher to you guys?  Certainly doesn't to us.  You get the feeling these arrests had to be done on October 3?  What's the damn rush?  We've asked several different law enforcement officers about how this went down and if they'd ever stayed up till four in the morning writing an arrest affidavit, believe it or not, not a single one of them ever had.  So why the rush to make these arrests happen?  Based on the time line above, doesn't it seem like someone was insisting that the arrests happen on Oct 3, no matter what?  Why?  Was it a deadline imposed on the Detective by the Mortgage Fraud Task Force?  Maybe a self imposed deadline by Assistant State Attorney Kostrzewski?  Who knows.  We have our own hypothesis as to why this case was hastily thrown together at the last minute and why the arrests HAD TO BE MADE on October 3, 2008.  To understand why we have to take a closer look at the Miami Dade County Mortgage Fraud Task Force's case number one's arrest date, state case number F07-34446...


See the date outlined in red?  Need we say more?  Anyone wanna guess who the prosecutor was on that case?  Isn't that fantastic?  People getting railroaded just so the task force can make headlines on the anniversary of the arrests in their first case.  Way to go guys.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Another plea date come and gone...

So today was to be the John Arthur Romney, the man who made nearly $400,000 as a result of the Bernardo Barrera mortgage fraud, was to plead out and get on with the rest of his life.  Can anyone guess what happened?  Take a look at the docket paying specific attention to the items outlined in red...


That's right, another postponement of the plea.  What gives here?  The only thing that we do know for sure is that the trial is set to begin on May 10, 2010, just 25 calander days away...

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Time for a field trip to the courthouse...

We've decided to document our trip to the courthouse with photos today, let's jump in the Straw Buyer mobile and haul ass to the courthouse...


On our way to the courthouse, we notice perhaps we're not wearing the proper courthouse attire so we decide to stop off at Rasool's for a new suit...


We get back on the highway and then take the exit for NW 12th Avenue where we find Assistant State Attorney Bill Kostrzewski fidgiting with a sign at the intersection (photo courtesy of the Miami Herald)...


With the courthouse in sight, we now fight for parking...


After finally getting an adequate parking spot, we go on to make the biggest mistake of the trip, grabbing a hot dog from the friendly courthouse hot dog vendor...


This was a huge mistake and ended up causing us to cut our trip short.  We then walk into the courthouse...


Go through the security checkpoint, get in the elevator and find ourselves on the ninth floor at the felony file room...


Once inside, we ask the somewhat less than friendly one eyed man of Asian descent for the Bernardo Barrera and Roger Besu case files.  We're then instructed to go into a little locked room in order to view the files...


Now, judging by the size of the files, can you figure out which file represents over two million dollars worth of theft and which one is the Bernardo Barrera mortgage fraud file?  Take another look...


The file on the right is the Roger Besu case file, interesting isn't it?  Over two million dollars missing from Mr. Besu's trust account and that's all we get?  For those of you following the Besu case, the most recent activity was Mr. Besu's attorney submitting his medical records to the court.  Big deal.  Now, the files on the left represent the Bernardo Barrera mortgage fraud case, imagine, that's only what the state wants us to see, who knows how much more paperwork they must be keeping from us?  Within those files, we find these documents that must have somehow escaped the glance of the people over at the prosecutors office...


There you have Citi Mortgage documents that are the most damaging to the states case, right there in their own file.  Did assistant state attorney Bill Kostrzewski even know these documents existed?  Did he bother to look through them?  We doubt it because if he would have, he would have noticed a single page in that group of documents that completely exonerates at least one of the defendants (we'll be discussing that document soon).  It's at this point in our field trip that the damn hot dog we purchased from the hot dog stand in front of the courthouse started to rear it's ugly head.  Needless to say, we had to cut our visit to the halls of justice short and haul ass to home base.  Hopefully we'll be over the effects of that god forsaken hot dog in time for tomorrow...