Thursday, June 12, 2008
Without doubt, mortgage fraud is a top concern these days. The FBI is making it a key focus (see here; see also Robert Schmidt, Bloomberg, FBI Halts Some Cases to Investigate Mortgage Frauds). Attorney General Mukasey has opted against setting up a separate task force to handle these cases. (see here). Thus, U.S. Attorney offices have to proceed without a central task force.
In the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Florida we see a coordinated effort by several entities in the prosecution of a mortgage fraud case. A Press Release of this office describes their Mortgage Fraud Task Force, "formed in January 2008," that "include[s] the United States Attorney’s Office; 25 local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies; three State Attorney’s Offices (6 , 10 and 13 Circuits), the Florida Office of Statewide Prosecution, and eight non-law enforcement partners." The result of the coordinated effort in one case was a plea agreement where the individual received a sentence of "eight and a half years' imprisonment for one count of wire fraud affecting a financial institution and one count of aggravated identity theft." The individual also had a sentence of mortgage related activity in Illinois. (see Elaine Silverstrini, TBO.com - Mortgage Scam Artist Who Helped Authorities Gets Prison) Which makes one wonder if a national effort is needed.
The Tampa case was handled by Thomas N. Palermo, an Assitant United States Attorney in the MIddle District of Florida.
Press Release - Download uribe_tpa_mtgfraudsentencelea202.pdf