Friday, April 29, 2011

Trying to understand the Plantation Cops mortgage fraud trial verdict.

 I was dumbfounded with the jury's verdict yesterday in the Plantation cops mortgage fraud trial.  John Burstein from the Sun Sentinel covers the verdict here.   I can't seem to understand how some of the defendants were found not guilty while others were found guilty since they all allegedly did the same thing.  I was of the belief that they were all going to be found not guilty or all guilty, I never imagined two of the six were going to be found guilty while the others walked.  Once again though, we find the government successfully prosecuting people that simply lied on their mortgage applications, as we've mentioned before, if that's the new standard for mortgage fraud prosecutions then the overwhelming majority of the people who purchased homes over the last decade could possibly run the risk of being convicted of mortgage fraud!


I'm still having trouble reconciling yesterdays verdict.  Could it have been simply a case of four of the six defense attorneys doing a better job then the other two?  Was the evidence against the two convicted officers that much worse than the rest?  Perhaps after nearly two months of sitting in jury box and going over thousands of pages of evidence, hundreds of hours of testimony and endless scores of expert witnesses, maybe the jury was lost?  Take a look at this question the jury sent to the judge just before they came back with the verdict and draw your own conclusions...

Question From the Plantation Cops Mortgage Fraud Trial Jury

The jury asks:
Can a defendant be not guilty of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and/or wire fraud and yet be guilty of mail fraud & wire fraud?
Does that make any sense to any of you?  Considering the nature of the crimes in question, the question makes no sense, yet it's a perfect example of the jury's state of mind, at least in my opinion.


Regardless, moving on to a comment left by one of our esteemed readers this morning...
Anonymous said...
what fine words of wisdom do you have now jerky
Thanks for that.  I'll leave off with congratulating the fine defense attorneys who did an excellent job exonerating their clients, Deric Zacca, Roger Cabrera, Steven Potolsky, Michael Dutko, Marc Fagelson, Jayne Weintraub and Anthony Livoti.  Well done, brilliant work.  Best of luck to officers Joseph Lagrasta, Casey Mittauer, Daryl Radziwon and FBI agent Robert Depriest and their families.  I hope they're able to get their lives and careers back together and put this whole ugly ordeal behind them.  

As far as the other two defendants that were found guilty, John Velez and Joseph Derosa, in light of the crimes they were convicted of, we can only hope the court is lenient with their sentences.

21 comments:

  1. So what happens to the scum bag brokers?

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  2. Since the scum bag brokers were absolutely no help to the prosecutors, will their sentences be greater than what they were hoping?
    I hope they rot in jail.

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  3. Being one of those that was at the trial-it was a setup from day one ! to many shady things were going on in the trial between the Government and the Judge! it was obvious the Judge was in the Governments pocket !!!! So they are sending good, no great ! men to jail for doing what so many were doing in 2004 !!! buying homes, fixing them up and flipping them !! My eyes are wide open now !!! I will never trust any form of our government again !! ever !! EVERYDAY PEOPLE DOING ORDINARY BUSINESS !! WATCH YOUR BACK'S !! THE GOVERNMENT IS COMING !!!!

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  4. Judy - if you were truly at the trial...you're obviously a lunatic. A SET UP? THE JUDGE IN THE GOVERNMENT'S POCKET? GREAT MEN GOING TO JAIL? These are men trusted to protect the public that committed fraud to line their own pockets. Ordinary business is not lying to mortgage lenders to profit. You sound more like part of the problem than part of the solution. Not guilty doesn't mean innocent.

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  5. Were you at Trial? read the book "Three Felonie's a Day " then see if I am a LUNATIC !!!!

    Herald stated the brokers did this 2000 times! Hello! 2000 other victims not defendants says it all.

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  6. 6:42, Judy sounds nuts doesnt she? I would agree with you until two weeks ago where I witnessed a federal trial where the judge was so blatantly biased against the defense that they might as well not have participated in the trial.

    It's far fetched but it happens.

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  7. I fail to see how 2,000 forgeries equals 2,000 victims...all of these cops knew they were buying properties they couldn't afford, forgeries or not...so how are they victims? They tried to take advantage of a hot market and they got caught when the market turned. The judge isn't going to show any bias in a trial that is so highly visible - and no one has made such allegations during or since the trial...except Judy. Why, Judy, would you need to read the Herald about the 2,000 forgeries because if you were at the trial, you would've heard it live? Save us the conspiracy theories - these guys aren't the worst of the bunch, but without market speculators and fraudulent purchases, our current market issues don't happen. And saying everyone is doing it just means that there are lots of criminal out there that can't be trusted to do the right thing when confronted with the chance...take responsibility people for your own actions and stop blaming the brokers, lenders, etc.

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  8. Straw Buyer - care to share which trial that the bias occurred in? If it was such an issue, shouldn't there have been some publicity surrounding that or at least rumors floating around? Haven't heard anything about any obvious bias...

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  9. The judge was so in bed with the government!! Right after trial one day he was at Mortin's steak house eating and drinking with the prosecutors!! He was very one sided! The government is hiding the banks from all their wrong doing and blaming the borrowers!! . The newspapers " accidentally printed wrong information about John Velez which said " he admitted to forging over 1000 documents and plead guilty to all his counts" they meant to say Rene Rodriguez who was a mortgage broker not John velez!! The jury was painted a picture the government wanted them to believe which is entirely untrue... Do you know how hard it is to see this corruption in front of your face and not being able to do anything about it?? After all they run the entire U. S. ! Who's above the law that was made by the government?
    Straw Buyer another thing that happened at trial of Plantation Cop's

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  10. Judy, please clarify. The judge was hanging with the prosecutors before, during or after the trial?

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  11. Straw Buyer-During the trial-the judge was seen at Morton's Steak House-eating and drinking with the prosecutors !! a fact

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  12. Judy - your conspiracy theories are what we usually hear about with the militias that build compounds out in the middle of nowhere. Multiple parties had a role in bringing the market down - strawbuyers, brokers, appraisers, lenders, etc. Trying to say the lenders were the only ones to blame is like blaming a bank when a bank robber steals money. They all had a part and all should be held accountable. Thinking Judge Cohn was in the Government's pocket is ridiculous Judy - and sharing 3rd or 4th party stories about who he dines with is a lousy attempt at trying to discount a ruling that the jury, not the judge, returned.

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  13. Judy - in case you didn't know, even defense attorneys and prosecutors have lunch together at times during trial...seen it before but it doesn't mean that they're in each other's pockets. Save the conspiracy theories for the uneducated people out there that don't know any better.

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  14. ANONYMOUS SOUNDS LIKE A GOVERNMENT
    PROSECUTOR !
    STRAW BUYER-- WHAT DO YOU SAY?

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  15. Sorry Judy, I'm not a prosecutor at all - I'm someone who didn't participate in the downfall of the economy by buying properties I knew I couldn't afford or by lying on my loan...but now I'm suffering for it like the rest of the nation...and based on your comments, sounds like you were someone who overextended yourself to buy real estate you shouldn't have. To remark on your point though since you seem to think prosecutors are at fault, funny how prosecutors are never looked at as slimy or unethical (save a few minor exceptions), yet defense attorneys always get that reputation...wonder why that is? Also Judy, someone who responds in all caps is someone that has no valid point to make, just gets emotional - which clouds rational thought.

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  16. Are you going to cover Joe's trial?

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  17. Heres what I want to know. I heard that the lead prosecutor (pat) stated to the judge I don't think will be able to prove these defendants guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. And tried to bring in an IRS charge. Well I guess that proves you don't have to get a guilty charge. You should get the transcript and look at that. Also why is everyone so big on them being cops and breaking the public trust. Were they on duty while they bought these"s houses. Seems to me the government just went after them cause they were cops. Hmmmm can you say selective prosecution.

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  18. Well put 9:59. If they can't get you one way then they'll get you another way. This case has set a dangerous precedent as not only have they achieved convictions against people who simply lied on their mortgage app's, but convictions for people whose loans WERE NOT IN DEFAULT!!!

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  19. "Can a defendant be not guilty of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and/or wire fraud and yet be guilty of mail fraud & wire fraud?"

    It makes sense. A person can commit the act of mail or wire fraud on their own, but to conspire with others to do it is completely different. A person may act alone without the aide of others.

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