Thursday, December 10, 2015

Forensic Mortgage Audit Commissioned By Central Florida Clerk Of Court Ends Up '$hi*-Canned' After 10-Month Police Probe; Sheriff: Report's Proponents Refused To Cooperate w/ Investigation, Not A Single Crime Was Found

In Osceola County, Florida, the Orlando Sentinel reports:
  • Osceola Clerk of Court Armando Ramirez paid a felon $34,500 last year to find out if banks and other lenders were guilty of mortgage fraud.

    Months later, Ramirez claimed his investigation found 156 suspected cases of lenders defrauding homeowners and 26 more targeting elected officials. Orange-Osceola State Attorney Jeff Ashton turned over the findings to the sheriff's office to investigate.

    On Tuesday, Sheriff Bob Hansell announced his agency's 10-month investigation didn't find a single crime.

    The sheriff's report stated that Ramirez refused to assist the investigation and that the auditor he hired, David Krieger of DK Consultants in San Antonio, would not say who conducted the review.

    "After being told of the examiners' criminal histories, lack of certification and the possibility that The Clerk might have been a victim of scheme to defraud, The Clerk continued to support the examiners and would not cooperate with my investigation," Det. Jason Harhen wrote.

    Ramirez, a first-term Democrat and former New York City police detective, did not respond to a request for an interview.

    Krieger, who runs DK Consultants of San Antonio, could not be reached.

    In 1996, he was convicted for his role in a $64 million scam by Family Farm Preservation, an anti-government movement that sold fake money orders to pay off federally insured mortgages. Since then, Krieger has worked a variety of jobs including wedding entertainer and Austin Powers impersonator as well as a mortgage fraud consultant, records show.

    "It should be noted, at no time did Krieger claim any of the 126 individuals or the 26 elected officials mentioned in The Exam were victims of any crime," Harhen wrote. "He simply believed they could be victims based on his belief that the accepted system for mortgage assignment and recording in the United States is criminal and fraudulent."

    Krieger, the detective wrote, would not talk if he didn't like the questions.

    "When questioned about anything other than the information he wanted to talk about...Krieger became very defensive and stopped cooperating," Harhen wrote in his report. "I was unable to locate any evidence to show the concepts in the (examination) led to violations of the Florida statutes."
    ***
    By early July, the sheriff's Economic Crimes Unit had spent 1,000 hours investigating Ramirez's allegations that cost taxpayers about $27,000 on top of Krieger's fees. The final cost of the investigation was not available Tuesday.
For more, see Review discredits felon's $34,500 mortgage audit for Osceola Clerk Ramirez.

For an earlier story, see Osceola Clerk of Court questions how authorities are investigating mortgage fraud audit:
  • [R]amirez said he thinks the sheriff's office spent the time investigating him, including his personal Facebook page. "It seems to me they already formulated their own opinion from the inception of the case," said Ramirez. "I think the thousand hours was spent investigating the messenger."

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