Mortgage Fraud Not Big in Attorney General Race

Rampant mortgage fraud played a major role in Florida’s real estate collapse. Yet for the five candidates running to be the state’s next attorney general, the issue has not been on the radar.

Palm Coast, FL – July 19, 2010

By Jeremy Wallace: Herald Tribune Political Writer
Rampant mortgage fraud during the housing boom played a major role in Florida’s real estate collapse. Yet for the five candidates running to be the state’s next attorney general, the issue has not been on the radar.
The lack of attention to mortgage fraud is striking. Florida has led the nation in mortgage fraud every year since 2006. A Herald-Tribune investigation uncovered more than 50,000 potentially illegal cases at a cost of $10 billion. Homes and other properties bought and quickly resold, often by real estate insiders, fed the glut of bank failures, foreclosures and inflated property values that have combined to devastate Florida’s economy.
Current Attorney General Bill McCollum has faced harsh criticism for doing little to crack down on the illegal deals.
It was widely expected that those running for attorney general would make the issue a priority.
They have not. Four candidates for the state’s top legal office do not even mention mortgage fraud on their websites, instead focusing on immigration reform, responding to the BP oil spill and health care reform. The exception is Democrat Dan Gelber, who said he was planning to add it to his website after a reporter called to ask him about the issue.
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Toby’s Commentary: Attorney General Bill McCollum has been relatively inactive in the fight against mortgage fraud in Florida. No single agency wants to take on the problem. Frauds cross too many jurisdictional and geographic boundaries. Pulling together the far flung documents and testimony on which to build a case is both labor and time intensive. Expect to see a few high-visibility prosecutions, but most of the crooks will go untouched.
1 reply
  1. John
    John says:

    Flaw in Tribune logic

    I am the first who would love to see some of the crocks that caused this mess pay for their crimes. The piece that the Tribune published regarding flipping is flawed in that flipping is not illegal. Even if it happens the same day. Certainly there are cases where a flip was not legal but to say that every flip less than 90-days constitutes fraud is just wrong. I personally witnessed people getting offers on the spot for tens if not hundreds of thousands more than they just contracted for. It was a crazy time in our countries history one that I hope we never, ever, return too.

    I think focusing on the corrupt developers, bankers, and appraisers makes a lot more sense. Of course the closing companies had a lot to do with this mess too.

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