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Police officers and lawyers indicted on mortgage fraud charges

Posted on July 05, 2010 12:00 AM EST

Several current and former Broward County police officers and one FBI agent have all been charged in a mortgage fraud indictment. The criminal defense lawyer representing one of the officers stated the cops did nothing wrong and were merely investors and that the mortgage brokers were the individuals committing the fraud. Thirteen defendants were charged in the indictment. The majority of the defendants appeared last week at their bond hearing. The magistrate hearing the cases approved bail for all of the defendants. The indictment alleges that the lending institutions lost in excess of the $16.5 million as a result of the scheme to defraud.

The cases against the officers are built around information provided by the mortgage brokers. They both surrendered last week and were granted bail. The indictment alleges that former Plantation police officer, Joseph Guaracino, while acting as the president of the "Home Buyers Group", located and purchased 38 properties in Broward and Palm Beach Counties on behalf of seven other current and former law enforcement officers. The defendant are charged along with mortgage brokers and lawyers for misrepresenting income, job titles, financial records and loan application to obtain loans between 2004 and 2007.

The two lawyers indicted on the case allegedly participated in the scam by acting as mortgage brokers and title agents. The FBI agent who is represented by two Miami criminal defense lawyers has not been placed on administrative leave and is receiving pay. While it is unusual for law enforcement officers under investigation not to be suspended, the agent's supervisors are allowing him to work because they are of the belief that he did not violate any laws. The agent is accused of obtaining a loan on a $445,000 home by supplying misinformation. According to the indictment, he is accused of submitting false information in order to obtain the loan.

The current and former police offices may have a defense to the mortgage fraud indictment. The government will have to prove that the officers actually provided false information on the loan applications. The first line of defense will be that the mortgage brokers turned government witnesses actually provided the false information and not the police officers. The defense attorneys will point the finger at the government witnesses and show that the only reason they are testifying is to reduce their sentences. Without other independent evidence showing that the police officers actually falsified the documents, the government's case appears to be weak. Of course this only applies as long as the law enforcement officers did not provide statements inculpating themselves. Always remember that if you are being investigated for this type of case, seek out an experienced Miami mortgage fraud defense lawyer to protect your rights.

Mortgage Fraud Case is Bogus, Broward Cops' Lawyers Say, The Miami Herald, July 2, 2010.
Categories: Fraud