TAMMIE LOU KAPUSTA – Tampa Tribune – Fired worker says home foreclosure firm forged documents
By SHANNON BEHNKEN | The Tampa Tribune
TAMPA – First, the Florida Attorney General’s Office launched an investigation into four of the state’s largest foreclosure firms, alleging made-up paperwork and forged signatures.
Then, some of the nation’s largest lenders halted home foreclosures after discovering employees had signed hundreds of thousands of documents without reading them.
Now, in a foreclosure industry bloated by the lingering effects of the housing crisis, a former employee in one of the firms under investigation describes in detail a secret system designed for speed at any cost.
Attorneys and staff members forged signatures and changed dates, casually passed around notary stamps, and notarized stacks of blank documents to be filled in later, said the employee, Tammie Lou Kapusta, in an interview with attorney general’s staff.
At the Law Offices of David J. Stern in Broward County, where Kapusta worked, long “signing tables” were set up across eight floors and employees would process 250 documents per floor each day, she said during the interview.
Two or three employees sat around practicing the signature of Chief Financial Officer Cheryl Samons, at Samons’ direction, Kapusta said.
Company lawyers were overheard saying they worried about breaking the law or getting disbarred, but Kapusta said they worried more about losing their jobs.
Toward the end of the interview, which was conducted under oath with Kapusta’s attorney present, she also describes romantic relations among people who worked in the office, including Stern.
Stern’s office learned about Kapusta’s statement Thursday, when it was posted on the Internet and picked up on attorneys’ blogs, said Jeffrey Tew, a lawyer representing Stern.
The statement isn’t true, Tew said.
“It’s terribly unfair to circulate these allegations on the Internet,” he said.
“I’m a little astounded that the attorney general would proceed this way,” he added. “It’s not fair that we were not aware of this statement and not given the right to question this statement.”
He noted that the version circulating on the Internet, which is on attorney general’s letterhead, is not signed by anyone or notarized.
The Attorney General’s Office confirmed Thursday that the statement is authentic.
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