Saturday, March 26, 2011

Florida Bar Prez Says Some Attorneys Face Profession's "Death Penalty" For Foreclosure Fraud; Outside Lawyer Hired To Work Specifically On Probes

The Palm Beach Post reports:
  • Florida Bar President Mayanne Downs predicts some Florida attorneys will pay the ultimate professional price for foreclosure-related wrongdoing - disbarment - as investigations mount statewide. "It's the death penalty of the legal profession," said Downs, who spoke to The Palm Beach Post's editorial board this week about legislative proposals affecting the courts and the state's ongoing foreclosure tumult.

  • The bar, which is responsible for investigating complaints of attorney misconduct, has 222 foreclosure fraud cases open on 157 lawyers. Those numbers are up from the end of 2010 when there were just 69 cases pending on 48 lawyers.

  • While specifics of the cases are not public, complaints generally about the handling of foreclosures have included knowingly forged signatures on court documents, bad notarizations on assignments of mortgage and shortcuts taken that led to illegal home repossessions. There are also 28 open bar investigations on 23 attorneys stemming from foreclosure defense complaints.

  • Although homeowner advocates have grumbled at what they say is a lack of action taken by the Florida bar, Downs assured that her group is taking accusations seriously, even hiring Sunrise-based attorney Joel Klaits to work specifically on the investigations.

For more, see Number of Fla. lawyers under investigation for foreclosure-related wrongdoing grows.

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