Editorial | Make Florida Law Firms Pay for Foreclosure Fraud
When individual doctors behave badly in Florida, state officials investigate. When corporate medical entities like hospitals or health clinics behave badly, state officials can investigate them, too. But in the legal world, it doesn’t work that way, and Floridians eager to see more action taken against the questionable practices of so-called foreclosure mills are starting to see why that’s a bad idea.
Many firms that specialized in processing foreclosures stand accused of sloppy and potentially fraudulent behavior, including robo-signing and invalid assignments of mortgages. But state law limits how much authorities can investigate and sanction these bad actors, and that’s the main reason so little has been done.
Hamstrung by legal limits, the state attorney general’s civil probe of seven such firms is “winding down,” with little to show except a settlement with one firm, Attorney General Pam Bondi said this month. Meanwhile, the Florida Bar, which licenses and sanctions practicing attorneys, has yet to hand out discipline for foreclosure fraud against any attorneys tied to these firms.