Friday, September 30, 2011

The cornerstone of Veldora Arthur's mortgage fraud defense...

The most common defense in a mortgage fraud case lately has been "I didn't know what I was signing" or "the brokers screwed me" or my favorite, "who reads all those documents anyway"!  As lame as those excuses may be, somehow they keep popping up throughout all of the mortgage fraud prosecutions that we've discussed lately.  Now we can add that lame ass defense strategy to federally indicted city of Miami assistant fire chief Veldora Arthur's bag of tricks.  Here's a quick summary of the expert witnesses opinions that she presented to the jury...

OPINION 1: It is not uncommon for buyers to sign closing documents without reading them.
OPINION 2: Buyers often rely on broker advice in real estate closing transactions.
OPINION 3: A buyer could be unaware of mistakes or fraud in closing documents.
OPINION 4: Some buyers complain after the fact [regarding their] knowledge of what was signed in closing documents.
OPINION 5: Brokers can and have engaged in the practice of “signing” of [sic] the buyer’s signature.
There you have it in a nutshell, the classic "I had no idea what I was doing defense".  There's a small wrinkle in this instance though, come to find out that Veldora herself was a licensed mortgage broker!  Considering the fact that she's a "licensed real estate professional", how far can she get with this "I had no idea what was going on" defense?  In fact the government thinks that her defense attorneys are going to propose to the jury that even though she was a mortgage broker, she actually had no idea how the mortgage business worked!  From one of the government's motions...
...the government anticipates that Arthur will not limit the expert’s testimony merely to the “requirements for obtaining a broker license in 2005 – 2006.” Indeed, the language in Opinion 7 regarding “and qualifications arising therefrom” suggests that Arthur will ultimately have the expert testify about her own level of knowledge/qualifications...

...the government anticipates that defense counsel will attempt to have the expert testify that individuals who obtain a mortgage-broker license are not, in fact, very knowledgeable about mortgage transactions, closings, and loan applications. From there, defense counsel might attempt to have the expert opine about Arthur’s potential level of knowledge and familiarity based on her having obtained a mortgage broker license herself. Essentially, defense counsel will use the expert to attempt to have the jury impute, infer or assume that Arthur herself is one of these people with a mortgage-broker license who allegedly does not know very much about anything pertaining to mortgages, loan applications, and closing-related documents.
Even more bizarre is that fact that even though Veldora's defense rests the blame on the mortgage brokers who allegedly "swindled" her into doing these deals, somehow her attorneys didn't cross examine them in trial.  As if that wasn't bad enough...
What Arthur is attempting to posit through this alleged “opinion” is that because she was walking around in South Florida in 2005/2006 during the real estate market/climate at that time, it somehow should excuse her conduct.

LOL!  So besides the fact that Veldora is the worlds dumbest mortgage broker, now we're to believe that she's involved in this multi million dollar mortgage fraud scheme simply because that was just the way the real estate market was back in 2005/06? 

Good luck with that defense.  The jury's still out, we'll update if there's any new developments.

1 comment: