Authorities: Foreclosure lawyer Mark Stopa made nearly $5 million off clients' homes

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Authorities: Foreclosure lawyer Mark Stopa made nearly $5 million off clients’ homes

Authorities: Foreclosure lawyer Mark Stopa made nearly $5 million off clients’ homes

Tampa Bay –

During the foreclosure crisis, thousands of Floridians turned to Mark Stopa for help in saving their homes.

The 41-year-old St. Petersburg lawyer became one of the state’s best-known foreclosure defense experts, quoted in national publications and portraying himself as a bulwark against heartless and conniving lenders.

But even as Stopa helped many people hold on to their homes, he acquired millions of dollars worth of property from other clients through what authorities say was a years-long pattern of fraud and deception. The alleged scheme to defraud clients and mortgage lenders has had a ripple effect throughout Florida, leaving thousands of foreclosure cases in limbo and Stopa’s former firm about to file for bankruptcy.

“It’s like the Titanic going down,” said Richard Mockler, a Tampa attorney who has tried unsuccessfully to salvage Stopa’s law practice.

[TAMPABAY]

image: DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | TIMES

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