Except for miami, mortgage fraud crimes not investigated or prosecuted by the state of florida
Posted on July 27, 2009 3:00 AM EST
It has recently come to light that law enforcement and prosecutors around the entire State of Florida have rejected cries for help from victims of mortgage fraud. Florida's most aggressive law enforcement agency is located in Miami, Florida and is headed up by the Miami-Dade Police Department. The Miami mortgage fraud task force assigned twenty officers the duty of battling mortgage fraud in Miami and to date have made in excess of 100 arrests. The Miami-Dade Police Department enlisted officers with real estate experience. For example, Sgt. Richard Davis, who works on the mortgage fraud task force, is a licensed real estate agent and mortgage broker. Davis said that officers attached to the mortgage fraud
task force are receiving specialized training regarding mortgage and real estate fraud. The creation of the mortgage fraud task force has inevitably created more cases for Miami criminal defense attorneys
U.S. Representative Kendrick Meek believes that every local law enforcement agency should take the same approach as Miami. He stated, "A sustained and coordinated law enforcement effort goes a long way in solving this problem". Meek further stated, "The Miami-Dade model of combating mortgage fraud needs to be exported throughout Florida".
A year-long investigation by the Sarasota Herald Tribune revealed that enforcement in almost all jurisdictions failed to investigate or failed to adequately investigate criminal complaints regarding mortgage and real estate fraud. Despite the fact that the mortgage research institute ranked the State of Florida as one of the worst states for mortgage fraud, the inaction by local law enforcement authorities have left many victims searching for answers.
In a reactive response to the unprecedented rise in mortgage fraud, the state legislation passed a law that made mortgage fraud a crime in 2007. State officials even opened a hotline to receive complaints from victims of mortgage fraud. Despite the steps that have been taken to prosecute these crimes, little or nothing has been done to bring those involved in mortgage fraud schemes to justice.
The federal law enforcement authorities have been more proactive than the state law enforcement authorities. The FBI has been assigned the task of investigating mortgage fraud cases, and in fact, is currently investigating in excess of 2,500 cases. The number of cases being investigated dwarf the number of actual cases of mortgage fraud that were committed in the State of Florida during the real estate boom. It is estimated that thousands and thousands of cases of mortgage fraud occurred between 2000 and 2007.
Flipping Fraud Ignored By Police and Prosecutors
, Sarasota Herald Tribune, July 21, 2009.