Thursday, July 28, 2011

Disbarred attorney and convicted ponzi schemer Scott Rothstein sends a message to one of the Plantation Cops and a message for Standard & Poor's and Moody's.


We all remember Scott Rothstein, don't we?  Mr. Rothstein was the high power attorney who was convicted of running a billion dollar plus ponzi scheme who in late 2009 fled to Morocco in a private jet with $16mm+ in cash in an effort to go into hiding and avoid prosecution for running his ponzi scheme and fleecing investors out of hundreds of millions of dollars.  Before Mr. Rothstein became a big shot in the legal community and subsequently a master criminal, he was an employment lawyer who represented cops in internal affairs matters and other disputes with the police department.  It turns out that Mr. Rothstein actually represented some of the Plantation cops that were federally indicted for mortgage fraud in the past.  In fact after Mr. Rothstein returned from Morocco, he tried to reach out to one of the cops, Joe Guaracino, months before the feds indicted any of the cops at the behest of the feds, take a listen to one of the messages left by Mr. Rothstein on Mr. Guaracino's voice mail...

This was obviously a controlled call that Mr. Rothstein made in order to try to ensnare his former client in an effort for Mr. Rothstein to further his cooperation with the feds.  Interesting to say the least, we'll discuss the Rothstein angle in the Plantation cops mortgage fraud case and it's implications next week.

Now, unless you've been living under a rock over the last few months, I'm sure you've been bombarded with news about the impasse between the waring factions in our government regarding government spending and the raising of the debt ceiling.  Lately we're told that because of the stalemate between the president and the republicans regarding the debt ceiling and the federal budget that the various credit rating agencies like Standard & Poor's and Moody's are going to downgrade government debt from a triple-A rating (the highest you can get) to a lower grad double-A rating.  The threat of a possible downgrade by the various rating agencies has sent shock waves through the financial sector, we're told that the effect the downgrade will have on interest rates will be cataclysmic and will send the economy into a downward spiral that will make the financial meltdown of 2008 look like a walk in the park.   Step back a minute and think about this triple A rating from the rating agencies, weren't these the same credit rating agencies that gave a triple A rating to all the mortgage backed securities that ultimately blew up and destroyed our economy?  If these credit rating agencies were actually doing their job over the last decade and rated the mortgage backed securities accurately, we wouldn't be in the financial mess that we're in today!  After screwing things up this badly the same villains are now  threatening this country with a downgrade to a double A rating if there isn't a deal on the debt ceiling increase?  Am I the only one that sees the irony in this?  Why haven't S&P and Moody's been criminally charged for their mortgage backed securities rating shenanigans?  Remember, if they hadn't given a triple A rating to the mortgage backed CDO's and characterized those securities as "good as money in the bank" we wouldn't be in the mess that we're in today!!!  With that said, here's my special message to S&P and Moody's...

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

An interesting perspective from one of our readers on the Plantation Cops mortgage fraud case.


One of our readers took the time to put together an analysis of the Plantation Cops mortgage fraud case as they knew it.  Here it is...
The Governments Misconduct goes far beyond the average case.  It appears the case was investigated by an FDLE agent who had no experience in Mortgage Fraud...
No kidding, a cop investigating a mortgage fraud case that has no experience with mortgage fraud?  NAH! 
...he came up with a theory decided to name it operation COPOUT and once named in 2008 there was no stopping the targets they originally thought were guilty.
No stopping the agent once he thought his targets were guilty?  Didn't we discuss this phenomenon a while back?
They made a deal with the two mortgage brokers.  Then they relied on just those two brokers.  They failed to properly investigate.  They ignored information the brokers were destroying evidence
 they had all the resources but never served a search warrant they just sent subpoenas and waited for the brokers and others to send documents gave them plenty of time to take out the real information that was sent to them and alter things.
Interesting point, why not just raid the mortgage brokers office, catch them off guard and take everything they got so they don't have a chance to filter out what they don't want law enforcement to see or worse, destroy evidence?  Considering that the targets of this investigation were fellow law enforcement agents whose lives would be permanently altered by an indictment of this nature, why wouldn't they take the time to properly investigate this case?
Let's talk about their theory

First it was straw buyers then they acknowledged real investments

Then it was they took money and ran then they found out most homes had extensive remodeling and  were sold

Then no repairs were done then close to 2 million in receipts cancelled checks and invoices and over a thousand pictures produced ( wouldn't a simple purchase and sale appraisal show the interior improvements done)

Then the indictment said the borrowers submitted false information

After the brokers plead they found out the brokers submitted all the false info

They also said there were forgeries all over the loans they ordered everyone to take handwriting exemplars accept that's right the brokers the exemplars said nope none of these guys did the fraud it doesn't match

Then through motions they found out the brokers committed over 1000 forgeries and every loan involved had a forged application and all disclosures sent to the lenders were forged by the brokers. So all the loans involved all the forgeries an fraud was committed by the brokers.
At this point, why not do the right thing, dismiss the charges against the cops and then nail the brokers to the cross?
Ok well we spent so much money and time an we already indicted all these people so let's just go with they knew or should have known. That documents they never seen or should have seen were forged and falsified because borrowers although there not involved in the loan process between a broker and a lender they should have thought to ask are you using my w2 and tax return?  Or are you putting us in subprime loans with higher rates then what we qualify for so the brokers could get paid 100s of thousands in what are now considered illegal Yield spread Premiums.

Ok so we know the brokers did all the fraud and the whole case rest on the other defendants had to have knowledge.

Oh but we found out in the last trial the brokers did the same fraud to 1000s of others for over 10 years.

Instead of clearing 1000s of victims the brokers pull off there last big con!  They make a deal then destroy other evidence and admitted on the stand oh yea we did all the fraud and to thousands.
Here's where I get lost, the government now has the mortgage brokers admitting that they've committed THOUSANDS of frauds over the last decade causing untold millions in losses to the banks yet the prosecution is still focusing on a handful of defendants whose worst crime is allegedly misstating their incomes on loan applications for loans that were ultimately paid off anyway?  Let's not forget that it's already been proven in the previous trial that the defendants didn't even know that the brokers were doctoring the loan applications and forging their signatures!

I'm lost.  Who exactly were the victims in the Plantation cops mortgage fraud case?  The homes that are at the center of this indictment for the most part were purchased, improved then resold.  Where's the problem?  What am I missing?

Friday, July 22, 2011

Banks ready to pay $20 billion dollars to get themselves out of trouble stemming from the mortgage meltdown and FINALLY! A mortgage fraud task force that's targeting the banks rather than the borrowers!

I couldn't believe what I was reading this morning, after all the years of maintaining that the real criminals in the mortgage and real estate meltdown was the banks, we finally have some validation to our claims.  Today we've learned that the banks at the core of the mortgage meltdown are willing to pay $20 billion dollars or more to win releases of liability from future claims that could arise from their lending practices!  From the Bloomberg article...
A push by U.S. banks to win broad liability releases has become one of the main obstacles in talks to resolve a nationwide probe of mortgage-servicing and foreclosure practices, two people briefed on the matter said.
The mortgage servicers want protection from additional state and federal claims over their mortgage practices as part of reaching a settlement that may exceed $20 billion, according to the people, who declined to be named because the talks are private. The banks are seeking releases that go beyond servicing of mortgages to include lending and securitization of loans, one of the people said.
Of course they want to settle, $20 billion is chump change compared to what their potential exposure could be.  But not so fast...

That effort has encountered resistance from at least two states. Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who are investigating the bundling of mortgage loans into securities, don’t want their probes blocked by a broad settlement of liability.
Biden said he has “strong reservations” about a deal that provides releases related to practices such as securitization and lending, because servicing is the focus of the nationwide settlement talks.
“We have an investigation going on. It would hinder our ability to do that, so that’s why I have real reservations,” Biden said in an interview. 

“Attorney General Schneiderman remains concerned by any settlement agreement that would preclude state attorneys general from conducting comprehensive investigations of the mortgage crisis,” Danny Kanner, a spokesman for the attorney general, said in an e-mailed statement.

Biden said it would be “imprudent” to relinquish claims in areas that haven’t been fully investigated.
“I hesitate to release those claims and those potential liabilities mostly because we’re still in the midst of investigating many of the other related issues,” he said. 
Could this be real or simply some state attorney generals that are raising objections simply for political gain?  Here's the best part, a quote from the CEO of JPMorgan Chase, Jamie Dimon...
“I would do anything to get it done today,” Dimon said July 14 about a settlement, according to a transcript of the company’s second-quarter earnings call.

NO SHIT?  He'd do anything to get this settlement done today?  How often do you hear people that are this eager to give away TWENTY BILLION DOLLARS??!!  Remember, by settling the banks will be absolved of all civil and criminal liability, so of course they're eager to settle.

Now comes the best part, California Attorney General Kamala Harris has created a mortgage fraud task force that's going after the LENDERS who were at the epicenter of the mortgage/real estate meltdown!  Better late then never!  From the L.A. Times...
California Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris, saying that years of unscrupulous lending still haunts the state, is creating a 25-person task force to target mortgage fraud of any size — from small operations that preyed on troubled borrowers to corporations that sold risky loans as safe investments.
The team of 17 lawyers and eight special agents from the state Department of Justice will pursue three major areas, Harris said in an interview:

•Corporate fraud, including instances in which bundled mortgages were sold as securities to the state or its pension funds under false pretenses. Harris said her office plans to prosecute some cases under California's False Claims Act, which she described as "one of those very powerful tools that California uniquely has … to pursue, in essence, what are false claims that are submitted to the state."
•Scams, including instances in which consultants, lawyers and others took fees from people in foreclosure, saying they would help the homeowners get loan modifications or other remedies, but delivered nothing.
•Fraudulent lending practices, including deceptive marketing, failure to fully disclose loan terms and qualifying people for loans who couldn't afford the terms.
Harris said the mortgage fraud that ultimately led to the housing crash continues to be a drag on the state, causing huge losses in jobs, property values and state revenues.
"We are looking at a situation of up to $640 billion in wealth having been lost because of this wave of foreclosures that has hit the state," Harris said, referring to the decline in homeowner equity. "There is a direct connection" between mortgage fraud "and the issue that we are challenged with in terms of our state budget crisis."
Creation of the state's Mortgage Fraud Strike Force, which Harris will announce at a news conference Monday in Los Angeles with Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, comes as other states turn up the heat on the lending industry.

Harris said that although successful prosecutions of major players in the mortgage meltdown have been difficult, the severity of the crisis called for a tough-minded approach to mortgage fraud, one that could target executives of major financial institutions.

"If the evidence leads us there, no case will be too big or too small to pursue," Harris said. "There remain millions of people affected by the mortgage crisis."
Fantastic.  I wonder though, why hasn't the Miami Dade State Attorneys Office set up a similar task force?  Why is it that the SAO down here refuses to go after the lenders?  It's been four years since the task force was created and they're still stuck on prosecuting small time fraudsters, why not go after the big guys, the people that actually fueled the mortgage meltdown?  The task force is no longer made up of inept and incapable prosecutors like Bill Kostrzewski, the men and women working their now are experienced and highly capable, so why not put together a case targeting the lenders who caused this mess?

Even if the banking industry ponies up the $20 billion and gets away from any liability for playing an indispensable role in the mortgage/real estate meltdown, they'd still be acknowledging some sort of responsibility in the crisis that ultimately brought our economy to it's knees.  That at least in my opinion is huge, suddenly the defendants in cases like the Plantation Cops mortgage fraud case who claimed that the banks were the villains don't seem so far off base. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Prosecutors gone wild. An outrageous instance of prosecutorial misconduct in the Casey Anthony murder trial.


Before we get started, I want to make one thing abundantly clear.  I absolutely loathe Casey Anthony, if for nothing else because of the way she carried on during the month after her daughters untimely death.  While I do believe she had something to do with her daughters death, I think it was a stretch to get anyone to believe that she was guilty of the crimes the prosecutors charged her with as did the jury who ultimately found her not guilty of first degree murder and spared her a possible death sentence.  With that said though, Ms Anthony, like anyone else charged with a crime no matter how heinous, entitled to have her day in court with the rights provided to her by the constitution.  Regardless of how horrendous the allegations against her were, law enforcement and the prosecutors still have to play by the rules, especially when it comes to exculpatory material or as it's often called, Brady Material.

Now, for those of you who followed the Anthony murder trial, you'd know that one of the prosecutions most damaging allegations against Anthony was that she googled "chloroform" 84 times during the time her daughter went "missing".  The prosecution implied to the jury that since she googled "chloroform" so many times that she must have therefore used chloroform in some way to kill her daughter.  A bit of a stretch perhaps, but it was one of the prosecutions strongest weapons against Anthony in an otherwise circumstantial case.  The prosecution came to this conclusion through a forensic computer expert named John Bradley, from the New York Times article...
The finding of 84 visits was used repeatedly during the trial to suggest that Ms. Anthony had planned to murder her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee, who was found dead in 2008. Ms. Anthony, who could have faced the death penalty, was acquitted of the killing on July 5.

Ok, but at some point during the investigation Mr. Bradley comes to another conclusion about this google search for "chloroform"...
Assertions by the prosecution that Casey Anthony conducted extensive computer searches on the word “chloroform” were based on inaccurate data, a software designer who testified at the trial said Monday.

The designer, John Bradley, said Ms. Anthony had visited what the prosecution said was a crucial Web site only once, not 84 times, as prosecutors had asserted. He came to that conclusion after redesigning his software, and immediately alerted prosecutors and the police about the mistake, he said.
If he immediately alerted prosecutors and the police then why the hell didn't we or anyone else here about this during the trial?
“I gave the police everything they needed to present a new report,” Mr. Bradley said. “I did the work myself and copied out the entire database in a spreadsheet to make sure there was no issue of accessibility to the data.”
No kidding?  
Mr. Bradley, chief executive of Siquest, a Canadian company, said he even volunteered to fly to Orlando at his own expense to show them the findings.
Yet somehow the prosecution never had Mr. Bradley come down and correct his testimony, interesting.
Cheney Mason, one of Ms. Anthony’s defense lawyers, said it was “outrageous” that prosecutors withheld critical information on the “chloroform” searches.

“The prosecution is absolutely obligated to bring forth to the court any and all evidence that could be exculpatory,” Mr. Mason said. “If in fact this is true, and the prosecution concealed this new information, it is more than shame on them. It is outrageous.”
There you have it.  Even if Ms. Anthony was found guilty of all the charges against her, this instance of the prosecutors withholding exculpatory evidence would have been enough to get the verdict against her thrown out.  How the hell do these guys feel they have the right and the power to play with peoples lives like this by withholding crucial evidence like this?  This type of behavior simply highlights the "win at all costs" attitude that we've seen time and time again by morally and ethically challenged prosecutors and police.  This instance of prosecutorial misconduct is no different than Miami Dade county prosecutor Bill Kostrzewski sitting on crucial exculpatory evidence in the Bernardo Barrera mortgage fraud case (evidence that the state to this day claims doesn't exist), prosecutor Richard Scruggs sitting on exculpatory evidence in the Michelle Spence-Jones case or even worse, Prosecutor Mike Nifong's behavior in the Duke Lacrosse scandal.

Consider now for a moment what the consequences of withholding this evidence from the jury in the Anthony murder trial could have been, Casey Anthony being convicted and sentenced to death.  Is that right?  The prosecutors conducting themselves in this manner to get a conviction by any means necessary?  Think about this most egregious example of prosecutorial misconduct next time someone you know that's run afoul of the justice system tells you that the cops and prosecutors have made up evidence or are trying to railroad them, maybe you'll think twice.  Or how about the allegations of misconduct by the prosecutors and investigators involved in the Plantation cops mortgage fraud trial?  Doesn't seem to far fetched now, does it? 

Shame on the prosecutors and the law enforcement officers involved in this mess.  In a perfect world prosecutors Linda Drane Burdick and Jeff Ashton should be disbarred and criminally prosecuted for their behavior as should any other prosecutor who exhibits the same pattern of behavior. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Expert witness testimony in the Plantation cops mortgage fraud trial that the government doesn't want the jury to hear.


Tough business defending yourself in a criminal trial, let alone a criminal trial in federal court.  The defendants indicted in the Plantation cops mortgage fraud case have turned to the testimony of expert witnesses in the field of mortgage, real estate and financial fraud to help in their defense, there's on small problem though, the prosecutors don't want the jury to hear what the experts have to say.  Let's take a look at the testimony that the prosecutors find objectionable, first from noted mortgage and real estate fraud expert, Curt Novy...

Curt Novy Expert Oppinion in Plantation Cops Mortgage Fraud Case

In a nutshell, Mr. Novy shares many of our same sentiments regarding the banks complicity in these alleged frauds and considering that the defense strategy of at least one of the defendants involves implicating the banks, you'd think this is critical for their defense.

Now, let's look at the expert opinion of Jeanne Delormier from Diligence Solutions, Inc, another expert in the field of real estate and mortgage fraud...

Jeanne DeLormier Expert Opinion in Plantation Cops Mortgage Fraud Case

Nothing ground breaking there, Ms. Delomier's conclusions are ones that anyone with a modicum of common sense could reach and her conclusions are obviously beneficial to the defendants. 

So what's the problem with these experts?  The prosecutors filed a motion to have the most damaging parts of their testimony (at least in our opinion) excluded from the trial.  Here are some examples of the testimony the government wants kept from the jury...
... lenders intentionally developed lax underwriting guidelines.

...lenders did not utilize prudent underwriting and risk management practices.

...lenders did not utilize prudent underwriting and risk management practices.
Isn't this what we've been saying all along?
...formed opinions that there were multiple identified areas where the lender/underwriter/reviewer had opportunities to notice discrepancies in documentation or items provided by the broker and/or title company
Very few factors were considered material in granting credit. Lenders ignored red flags because they knew borrowers did not truly qualify to purchase homes. Factors such as income verification, asset verification were not material to the lenders granting credit.
Of course they ignored obvious red flags, they needed to get the loans no matter what so they could go ahead bundle them and resell them as CDO's.
...borrowers would not have been aware that the Broker was not honest with the Lender.
Does anyone really believe that if the cops who were at the center of these alleged frauds knew that the could risk going to jail by lying on the loan applications that they'd actually go along with it?
In my opinion, the Brokers and in some cases the Title Company participated together to encourage the borrowers to just sign the documents to close the loan, as neither Broker nor Title gets paid if until the loan closes
Duh, I can't speak for the title company but you can bet that the brokers would do anything in their power to get a deal closed.

So what's the problem with the testimony from these experts?  What's the government's objection to what they have to say?  Take a look...
...the proposed testimony serves only to paint the lenders as irresponsible and encourage the jury to blame the lender for failing to prevent the fraud.
No kidding?  OF COURSE THE LENDERS WERE IRRESPONSIBLE IN THEIR LENDING PRACTICES!  WTF?!  How could anyone not reach that conclusion!?  Considering that the lenders complicity is an essential part of the defense, how could the court not allow this testimony?  The court hasn't ruled yet, but considering how this court has ruled in the past, the chances of this testimony getting before the jury seem slim.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Why is it a crime for the average citizen to commit fraud when it's ok for banks to do so? Also, why is property in the City of Miami worth less than property in Coral Gables?

Great question right?  Say you or I submitted all kinds of forged and bogus paperwork for a mortgage or worse, what if we submitted said paperwork to a court?  Undoubtedly, our asses would be headed for jail.   

Over the course of our blog we've written about several instances where people simply misstated their incomes who were subsequently arrested and convicted of various frauds, so why should it be any different for banks?  Considering the robo signing epidemic that's plagued the courts recently where foreclosure attorneys representing banks have been fabricating and forging documents to help their foreclosure cases along, shouldn't these attorneys and the banks who they represent have their feet held to the fire for perpetrating these frauds on the court?  Up till now the attorneys and their clients have been able to avoid any repercussions from these frauds by simply dropping the foreclosure cases, isn't that nice?  

Imagine committing a crime then simply backing off midway and having the government not prosecuting you?  I've always been told that even if you didn't go through with the crime, it's simply the intent that's enough to get you prosecuted, so why are these attorneys and their clients being let off the hook for committing the very same type of frauds that many of the people who've been prosecuted for mortgage fraud have committed?  Doesn't seem fair does it?

Now comes a foreclosure defense attorney who isn't satisfied with the status quo, attorney Enrique Nieves III has filed an appeal with the Florida supreme court which will decide if the banks can simply walk away from these nefarious fake robo signed documents without having to deal with the consequences.  From the Daily Business Review article...

At 31, Nieves is assigned to argue a case that may decide the fate of thousands of mortgage foreclosures similar to his case, Roman Pino v. Bank of New York Mellon.
The question before the court seems straightforward: Can banks escape fraud claims in foreclosures by simply dropping their case?
But the ramifications are potentially severe, and with its decision the state's high court will likely decide what consequences lenders will face for the robo-signing scandal and allegedly fraudulent assignment-of-mortgage documents that has affected thousands of cases.
In Nieves' case, the 4th District Court of Appeal ruled Feb. 3 that BNY Mellon legally avoided a claim that it committed a fraud on the court by voluntarily dismissing a foreclosure action against Pino, a Lake Worth resident. The claim was dismissed after Pino's counsel scheduled depositions and asked for an evidentiary hearing to determine whether BNY Mellon used a fraudulent mortgage assignment.
On appeal is an 8-1 en banc decision saying courts have no authority to rescind voluntary dismissals and that no harm was done. Judge Mark Polen disagreed, saying the allegation of a systemic fraud was the very thing the Supreme Court addressed in its 2010 rule change giving courts greater latitude in sanctioning plaintiffs who make false allegations.
If the Supreme Court agrees with Polen, a host of homeowners may get a chance to seek sanctions from their lenders. Those are the stakes for Nieves.
On July 1, the Supreme Court granted BNY Mellon's motion for extension of time. It has until Aug. 4 to answer Nieves' brief. No date has been set for oral arguments.

Best of luck to Mr. Nieves, we'll have to wait till August to see how this pans out, the outcome of this case could have huge repercussions for homeowners embroiled in this mess.  

The bigger question that's left unanswered is why haven't any of the attorneys and banks that have committed these frauds been prosecuted or at the very least been disciplined by the Bar?  Why haven't any prosecutors summoned up the balls to go ahead and make a case against these guys?  Seems like a slam dunk, open and shut case to me.  Maybe when they're through prosecuting people who misstated their incomes on mortgage applications or lied about where they worked, they'll get around to going after these guys.  

Here's another question to ponder, perhaps a question that can be answered by simply looking at two photos.  Why is property in the City of Miami worth significantly less than property in Coral Gables?  Let's try to answer that question by looking at two photos taken as you go down 37th Avenue which is the border between the two cities, the first photo is on the east side of 37th which is the Gables side...

Here you have nicely manicured landscaping, some palm trees, clean sidewalks, etc.  Now, from the very same position, look across the street to the City of Miami side and you'll find this...

Isn't that sweet?  Check out the three huge billboards on a tiny 8,000 sqft lot.  Funny how eyesores like this have a detrimental effect of property values, isn't it?  Doesn't this look like the visual pollution people from the north east want get away from when they come to sunny Florida for vacation?

The worst part of all this is that if the people running our beloved city have their way, the entire city is going to look like this mess and considering how the city commission is in the billboard industry's pocket, I guess we're fcuked! 

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Keeping the inconvenient truths from the jury in the Plantation cops mortgage fraud trial.


Throughout the course of the Plantation cops mortgage fraud case the defendants have contended that the lead investigator from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), Dennis Roadruck has been intimidating, threatening and coercing witnesses to get them to say what he needed.  That kind of behavior from a cop is hardly in keeping with the "we who labor here seek only the truth" signs that we discussed yesterday.  It's always been our opinion when witness testimony is obtained using threats and coercion, the testimony is worthless.  This is no different than torturing an innocent person until they finally break and say whatever you want them to in order to stop the torture or as we discussed months ago, MDPD Detective Jorge Baluja scaring a key witness in the Bernardo Barrera mortgage fraud case shitless till she lied and told him exactly what he wanted to hear in order to put his case together.

So here comes FDLE special agent Dennis Roadruck who the defendants accuse of intimidating, threatening and coercing witnesses, shouldn't the jury sitting in judgement of the defendants know that the case was possibly put together with statements and witness testimony that was obtained through these illicit means by the investigator?  Also, what if the investigator has a history of such behavior?  In the Barrera mortgage fraud case we were able to dig up proof that the lead detective, Jorge Baluja, couldn't tell his ass from his elbow (check this article), if the case had ended up going to trial, don't you think the jury would have been entitled to hear about the detective's history of screwing up cases?  I certainly do.  So if there existed some sort of proof of Agent Roadruck threatening and intimidating people, wouldn't it be relevant to his credibility and the credibility of the witness statements that he's produced as result of his interviews throughout his investigation?  Of course it would be relevant, take a look at these statements chronicling special agent Roadruck's history of domestic violence...

Dennis Roadruck domestic violence reports

The report documents several instances of assault, battery, stalking, false imprisonment, kidnapping, etc by Agent Roadruck against his estranged wife.  Considering the accusations made in that report, does it seem far fetched that special agent Roadruck may have crossed the line when interviewing witnesses in the Plantation cops mortgage fraud case?  Of course not.  If this is the way you deal with your own family, how can you be expected to deal with total strangers that you're interviewing in a criminal investigation?  Surely the jury should know about this kind of a pattern of behavior by the man who built this case, right?  I don't think anyone with a modicum of common sense could argue that Mr. Roadruck's history of domestic violence isn't relative to his behavior in the Plantation Cop's mortgage fraud case, that is anyone other than the prosecutors prosecuting the case...

Government's Motion in Limine to exclude Dennis Roadruck previous history of domestic violence

According to that motion, the prosecutors don't want the jury to know about Mr. Roadruck's history, they go so far as to say that the claims of domestic violence are "unproved allegations".  Unproven allegations?  Mr. Roadruck's ex wife states she has tape recordings of threats from her husband as well as other police reports documenting the abuse, yet according to the prosecutors the allegations "carry a high and unfair level of prejudice to agent Roadruck and the government"!  NO SHIT!  Of course they do, the prove a long history of what the defendants are alleging, that the investigator who built the case has a history of threatening and intimidating people to get what he wants.  

How couldn't this be important for the jury to hear?!  What happened to that quest to "seek the truth"?  I guess that quest is solely limited to the truths that help the prosecution while anything that helps the defense needs to kept from the jury, truth and justice be damned.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Attorney Louis J. Jepeway Jr. wants to remove those stupid signs from the courtrooms in Miami Dade County. Speaking of signs, another massive LED billboard pops up just across the street from the criminal courthouse.

Anyone who's been inside a courtroom in Miami Dade county has seen those signs affixed to the wall just behind the judges head...

After seeing first hand how the criminal justice system works, one can only conclude that this is total bullshit.  From what I've seen the sign and it's definition of "truth" means different things to different people.  In the eyes of the prosecutors the sign must read...

We who labor here seek a conviction by any means necessary no matter how much excuplatory evidence we have to hide or how much coerced witness testimony and fabricated evidence we need to provide the court.

Think about that for a moment, how many criminal trials have we heard of lately where the judge decides that critical evidence which would exonerate the defendants for one reason or another isn't admissible?  Take our Plantation Cops federal mortgage fraud trial for instance, there are tons of documents that exonerate the defendants, plenty of facts regarding the people who investigated the case that expose their ulterior motives for bringing about the case, prior abusive behavior by the investigators who are accused of coercing witnesses, polygraphs and audio recordings exonerating the victims, etc yet the judge has decided that none of these things need to go before the jury.  So what happened to seeking only the truth?

Now criminal defense attorney Louis J. Jepeway Jr. is doing his best to get these signs removed from the courtrooms.  From the Herald article...

But one lawyer in a triple murder case wants the venerated sign taken down — because the truth is, jurors during a trial aren’t always allowed to see the whole truth, meaning all the evidence collected by police.

“Truthful evidence may be excluded” by a judge before trial, attorney Louis Jepeway Jr. wrote in a recently filed motion, asking Circuit Judge Nushin G. Sayfie to remove the sign. “The sign invites the jurors to speculate when they sense that there is evidence that has not been introduced.”

Mr. Jepeway's request is rather unusual, but the sign is hypocrisy at it's best.
According to Miami-Dade’s courts historian, the sign was introduced in the late 1940s by Circuit Judge George S. Holt, a philosopher of sorts who once wrote his fellow jurists should “carry this saying etched in their hearts” in their “fervent quest for justice for their fellow man.”
What a pile of shit.  Anyone whose sat through a trial or hearing watching a prosecutor lie his ass off must surely question this "fervent quest for justice for their fellow man" bullshit.  That's hardly how I felt when I heard Assistant State Attorney Bill Kostrzewski intentionally lie to the judge presiding over the Bernardo Barrera mortgage fraud case.  Good luck Mr. Jepeway, it's only a sign but it's the first thing you see when you walk into that courtroom giving you a false hope of "justice" being served.

On another note, while visiting the criminal courthouse last week, we witnessed the finishing touches being put on another one of the new monstrous LED billboards that was just installed on the south east corner of the 12th ave and the 836 expressway, essentially just across the road from the criminal courthouse...

This one's going to work wonders for the neighborhood.  It's not going to be long before there's one of these massive signs on every corner in our wonderful city.

Friday, July 8, 2011

It's time for a VACATION! Not for us, but at least it is for the judge presiding over the Plantation Cops federal mortgage fraud trial.


I was perplexed over the nearly three week court recess we discovered yesterday right in the middle of the ongoing Plantation cops mortgage fraud case.  How could you take three weeks off during a federal criminal trial?  I did a little digging and found that the break was due to Judge James Cohn's vacation schedule.  I'm not exactly sure how the trial got scheduled in such a way that it could have potentially conflicted with the judges vacation, regardless, I think this is a fantastic opportunity for the defendants.  Take into account that they've been going at it for over 25 days now, right in the thick of things the defense attorneys get a breather, time to reevaluate their strategies and regroup.  In my opinion, this is a huge advantage.

With that said, I'm signing off early today, in the mean time, take a look over at Investigation Miami and see how a few local bloggers are bringing down City of Miami mayor Tomas Regalado's house of cards.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Been ripped off by loan modifaction attorneys? No worries, the Florida Bar's got your back! Also, a quick update on the Plantation cops mortgage fraud trial.

Ever since the real estate and mortgage meltdown we've been inundated with ads for lawyers that are going to help you the poor consumer get relief from those evil banks that gave you all kinds of money that you now can't pay back.  Their m.o. was all to enticing, don't pay your mortgage, instead send me a few hundred bucks a month and I'll keep you in your house until the bank buckles over, screams for mercy and gives you your house back with a monthly payment that you can afford.  Sounds great but does anyone know one these deals that actually worked out?  All I've ever heard of was lawyers taking peoples money and not doing shit, sort of like what attorney Rashmi Airan-Pace of Miami is accused of doing.  From yesterdays Daily Business Review article... 
Stacy Peppers, a West Palm Beach insurance agent, got a cold call in 2009 from a company promising to secure her a loan modification. With her husband recently laid off, Peppers was having trouble paying the mortgage on her Pompano Beach house and was turned down for a mortgage modification when she called her lender.
So far so good...
But Peppers said she heard nothing from her lawyer, Rashmi Airan-Pace, and could get no calls returned for months. So she started requesting a refund.

"I was getting aggravated," she said. "I kept asking for my money back and heard nothing back."
Uh oh...
Finally, Peppers called her lender, Chase, and was dumbfounded by what she heard. She was told no one had ever called on her behalf and the bank had never heard of the Airan-Pace law firm.
WHOOPS!  It gets worse...
Peppers is one of a half dozen clients who complained to The Florida Bar about the Airan-Pace firm and its principal, Rashmi Airan-Pace.
But clients from around the country began complaining to The Bar and on such websites as with similar tales about Airan-Pace — they hired her firm to help negotiate a mortgage modification with their lender but nothing was done. They also complain that when they asked for refunds, they got no answer or were rebuffed.
So we've got an untold number of people who claim that attorney Airan-Pace has taken their money and not done anything in return, here's another example...
One such client was Christopher Delany. The former New York mortgage broker said he once had 90 employees but got in trouble when the housing market downshifted. The father of four hired Airan-Pace for help forestall the foreclosure on his Kendall home. He paid her $2,000 and offered to do some marketing work for her.
"I asked her for assistance with dialogue with the bank and to prolong the foreclosure," he said. "I said, 'Can you do that?' She said, "Yes, yes, yes.'"

But Delany said he could not get Airan-Pace on the phone after that and got no relief from foreclosure proceedings. He demanded a refund from Airan-Pace and finally threatened in a letter to "become William Shakespeare" and start writing letters to The Florida Bar turning Airan-Pace in. Her father responded in a strongly worded letter that he did not appreciate the threat and would sue for defamation.
Could it get any worse than this?  Considering the magnitude of the accusations against her and rumors of an FBI investigation into her involvement with some questionable real estate transactions, what kind of punishment do you think the Florida Bar gave her?  Disbarment for sure right?  In case you're interested you can read the Bar's disciplinary action against Airan-Pace here, in a nutshell she got suspended for 45 days and ordered to pay a few of her clients back a portion of the money that they had given for their loan modifications. 

Big fucking deal, who knows how much money these people took in and how many people got stuck in situations like this... 

Delany said he feels particularly bad for a neighbor he recommended to Airan-Pace whose house was sold at auction. "She took his money, and she didn't do anything," he said. "For every one person complaining, there are probably 100 people she screwed over. These law firms are becoming processing mills."

I'm sure the people that forked over their hard earned money with hopes of saving their homes only to get nothing in return are ecstatic to know that this attorney has to take a 45 day vacation as punishment. 

Now, onto the Plantation Cops mortgage fraud trial.  I've been backed up and haven't been able to spend time going through the recent events regarding this trial, I looked up the docket and was shocked to find this (as always, click on the image to enlarge)... 

The court's in recess till July 18th?  How does the court take a nearly three week break during the middle of a trial?  Anyone have any insight as to WTF that's about?

Lastly, considering the not guilty verdict in the Casey Anthony murder trial and the recent comparisons of this trial to the O.J. Simpson trial, I thought this is an appropriate warning for our readers...

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

While everyone is bitching and moaning abot the LED billboards and murals along side I-95, somehow this one got overlooked.

Local media has been abuzz lately because of the grotesque LED billboards and murals that seem to be popping up everywhere alongside our major highways, yet despite all the noise as of late and the fact that the Federal Highway Administration had deemed these signs illegal, somehow this one slipped through the cracks.  The sign is located on the east side of Le Jeunne road just south of Flagler St.  I only noticed it because the police had blocked the road one morning to allow the trucks to move the sign parts in place, I couldn't believe they were going to put a sign on this location and thought perhaps that it was just going to be temporary storage for the parts, before I knew it this popped up...

The color of the billboards structure was troubling as the only signs I've seen with that silver color metal were LED billboards, but that can't be right can it?  An LED billboard that close to the road less than three stories high with homes and offices all around it?  There's no way anyone would allow something like that to get built, right?  Consider that if you're a tourist leaving the airport heading for the Grove or Coral Gables, you're practically going to run into this sign, no one with a modicum of sense would allow a flashing LED billboard in a location like this, right????  Here's what I found the next day...

Unbelievable, a fucking LED billboard.  I never thought in a million years that I'd see something like this in Miami, disgusting.  I can't wait to see how this sign is going to illuminate the neighborhood at night.  I've never seen an LED billboard of this size this close to the road.  Amazing.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy Fourth of July!


Here's a disturbing fourth of July image for you...

That's Casey Anthony, the central Florida woman that's on trial right now for murdering her daughter.  Even more disturbing, check out this article regarding the attorney whose job it is to save her from the death penalty.  YIKES!

Now, for a less disturbing image courtesy of our friends over at Nikon Miami...

Happy fourth of July!