David Dayen | IG Report Whitewashes Firing of Foreclosure Fraud Investigators in Florida

“Why were so many attorneys defending targets of investigations talking to the head of the economic crimes division? Why was he listening to their concerns over his own investigators in his office? Why was Lawson faulting Clarkson and Edwards for a failure to do “independent investigations to confirm third party complaints” when he was accepting third party complaints from the targets of the investigations? Why is there so much smearing of the work of Lisa Epstein and Lynn Szymoniak, both nationally recognized for their efforts?”


IG Report Whitewashes Firing of Foreclosure Fraud Investigators in Florida

By: David Dayen

A remarkable report from an Inspector General in Florida not only clears the state Attorney General’s office for the firings of two foreclosure fraud investigators, it accuses bloggers and advocates of dictating and controlling investigations, sometimes for nakedly personal reasons.

The story, which most clearly resembles the US Attorney scandal of the Bush era, requires quite a bit of backup. June Clarkson and Theresa Edwards were career lawyers in the South Florida office of the Attorney General, economic crimes division. Back during the dark days of 2010, Clarkson and Edwards were the most aggressive law enforcement officials, from the top down, in identifying and investigating the web of foreclosure fraud, particularly the stew that emerged in Florida, with bogus documents, forgeries, go-go foreclosure mills valuing speed over accuracy, and document processing companies providing menus for law firms to finish off the theft of homes from borrowers. Much of the information Clarkson and Edwards got into the public sphere motivated the investigations and lawsuits we see today. At the end of 2010, Clarkson and Edwards prepared a Power Point Presentation, called Unfair, Deceptive and Unconscionable Acts in Foreclosure Cases. That Power Point, bringing together all the types of document fraud seen in Florida foreclosure courts, had a profound impact. I described it at the time as “a full pictorial history of the past decade in the mortgage industry, complete with actual shots of improper mortgage assignments. They show the same name of a bank officer being written four different ways, clearly forged. They show stamps from notarizations that expired before they were used to certify foreclosure documents.”

The report sent shock waves through the industry and the law enforcement community. As Clarkson said on the “Citizen Warriors” radio show last night, “we had people from New York and DC coming down asking us what was going on in their banks! And it stopped foreclosures for a couple months.”

Be sure to check out the rest of David’s report here…

And if you haven’t checked out last night’s Citizen Warriors show click here…
(After reading the rest of David’s report)




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