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State attorney's office creates mortgage fraud unit

June 02, 2010

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Law enforcement and prosecutors continue to ramp up efforts to investigate and bring charges against those involved in mortgage fraud. As discussed in recent blogs, the federal government has created mortgage fraud task forces for regions hit hard by those committing mortgage fraud. The Miami-Dade County State Attorney's Office has just followed suit by starting its own mortgage fraud unit. The unit will be staffed by five experienced prosecutors. Prior to the creation of this unit, the state attorney's office had only three specialized units dealing with fraud which were insurance fraud (staged accidents), worker's compensation fraud, and the economic crimes unit. Prior to the formation of the mortgage fraud division, the state wide prosecutor's office was solely responsible for these types of cases. The creation of this specialized division will create further work for Miami criminal defense lawyers practicing in state court.

Along with the five prosecutors, the new division will be staffed with paralegals, support personal and a forensic accountant. The current Miami-Dade State Attorney saw the need for the creation of the mortgage fraud division, but realized that the cases were far too complex for inexperienced prosecutors to handle effectively. Miami and South Florida have garnered a lot of media attention for the large amount of mortgage fraud committed in the area. Dozens of arrests and prosecutions for mortgage fraud make the newspaper every month. With all this in mind, individuals involved in mortgage fraud face criminal charges that can now be brought by three prosecutorial agencies.

The most recently mentioned cases of mortgage fraud involved South Florida companies called TopDot Mortgage and Infinity Mortgage Solutions. TopDot Mortgage was a Boca Raton based operation that saw the arrests of two branch managers, a lawyer, a bank executive and a straw buyer. All of the defendant face long periods of incarceration as several lending institutions lost millions of dollars as a result of the scheme to defraud. The case involving Infinity Mortgage Solutions involved six Miami-Dade residents that were involved in a $5 million scheme to defraud.

Investigations into mortgage fraud involve hundreds of pages of documents and numerous suspects and witnesses. The voluminous amounts of evidence leads to investigations that can take years to complete. If anyone becomes aware that they are the subject of a criminal investigation involving mortgage fraud, it is imperative to seek out Miami criminal attorneys that have experience in defending these types of matters both in state and federal court. It is important to retain counsel as soon as possible so that you will know and protect your rights from the inception of the investigation. Always remember, never speak with law enforcement officers outside the presence of a criminal defense lawyer because any statements made, as innocuous as they may seem, may give the prosecution just enough evidence to file criminal charges.

Dade State Attorney Creates Mortgage Fraud Unit, South Florida Business Journal, May 27, 2010.
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