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Tag Archive | "PAM BONDI"

Rep. Deutch Urges Attorney General Pam Bondi to Use Mortgage Settlement Money on Helping Struggling Homeowners

Rep. Deutch Urges Attorney General Pam Bondi to Use Mortgage Settlement Money on Helping Struggling Homeowners


Washington, Feb 22 – Today, U.S. Reps. Ted Deutch (FL-19), Corrine Brown (FL-3), Alcee L. Hastings (FL-13), Richard Nugent (FL-5), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-20), and Frederica Wilson (FL-17) sent a letter to Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi urging her to ensure that the funds awarded to Florida in the recent nationwide mortgage settlement are used for no purpose other than helping struggling homeowners and foreclosure victims. Congressman Deutch’s letter follows developments in other states where settlement money intended for foreclosure relief is being used for other purposes. In Missouri and Wisconsin, Attorneys General have diverted funds to Governors and state legislators to plug budget shortfalls, and most recently, a plan put forward in Ohio uses such funds to pay for the demolition of vacant homes.

“Given the ongoing State of Florida’s housing crisis, we strongly urge you to use these settlement funds for housing relief, and resist any efforts to divert the funds to close shortfalls in the state budget,” the Representatives write. “Data demonstrates that Florida has the third highest percentage in the country of homeowners – 44% of homeowners in the state – that are underwater.  The funds from the Federal Government and State Attorneys Generals settlement with mortgage servicers can provide and should be used to provide much needed assistance to struggling homeowners.”

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Foreclosure lawyer probes left up to Florida Bar

Foreclosure lawyer probes left up to Florida Bar


Like they’ll do anything about this…they haven’t even done a thing about the foreclosure mills that were fired from Fannie & Freddie!

The FL Bar knows what’s up but will never ever take any action.

PALM BEACH POST-

The Florida Bar’s investigations into foreclosure fraud by its members jumped 63 percent in the past year, but no disciplinary actions against attorneys have been levied since complaints began to mount in the fall of 2010.

The responsibility to hold lawyers accountable for foreclosure misconduct now rests solely with the Florida Bar after the state attorney general’s investigation into high-volume foreclosure law firms collapsed this week.

Since March of last year, the number of foreclosure fraud investigations of attorneys by the Bar grew from 222 cases to 362. During the same time period, about 130 cases were closed with no findings of fault. There are 229 pending cases.

[PALM BEACH POST]

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Attorney General Lisa Madigan files lawsuit against Nationwide Title Clearing (NTC) for filing faulty documents with Illinois county recorders

Attorney General Lisa Madigan files lawsuit against Nationwide Title Clearing (NTC) for filing faulty documents with Illinois county recorders


More proof FL AG Pam Bondi is not doing her job!

 

MADIGAN FILES SUIT OVER FAULTY MORTGAGE ASSIGNMENTS FILED WITH COUNTY RECORDERS

Attorney General Alleges Faulty Practices in Foreclosing on
Homeowners in Crisis

Chicago — Attorney General Lisa Madigan today filed a lawsuit against Nationwide Title Clearing for filing faulty documents with Illinois county recorders. Nationwide Title Cleaning Inc. (NTC) is a Florida-based company that prepares documents for mortgage servicers to use against borrowers who are in default, foreclosure or bankruptcy.

“The practices that NTC used were a key contributor to the mortgage crisis by undermining the integrity and accuracy of the mortgage servicing and foreclosure process,” Attorney General Madigan said.

NTC provides a range of mortgage loan services to eight of the top 10 lenders and mortgage servicers in the country. NTC specializes in creating, processing and recording mortgage assignments, which are often used for a lender to foreclose on a borrower.

The lawsuit, filed in Cook County Circuit Court, alleges numerous violations of the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Practices Act and the Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act. Madigan is asking the court to require NTC to review and correct all documents it unlawfully created and recorded in Illinois, and pay back all revenues, profits and gains achieved in whole or in part due to unlawful practices. The suit also asks the court to impose civil penalties against the company.

[illinoisattorneygeneral.gov]

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AN OPEN LETTER TO MICHIGAN AG BILL SCHUETTE FROM REG. Of DEEDS CURTIS HERTEL JR.

AN OPEN LETTER TO MICHIGAN AG BILL SCHUETTE FROM REG. Of DEEDS CURTIS HERTEL JR.


Via The American Independent

AN OPEN LETTER TO BILL SCHUETTE

The Honorable Bill Schuette
Attorney General of Michigan

Mr. Schuette –

I have the utmost respect for you and your office, and I wish to commend your hard work
on the recent mortgage robo-signing crisis. The challenges we have faced in Michigan
concerning property fraud have been unlike anything we have ever seen before, and you
have been actively engaged in this fight with myself and the other Michigan Registers of
Deeds.

As you know, the deadline for Michigan to sign on to the 50-state mortgage fraud
settlement is February 3rd. I recognize that this is a difficult decision, and that there
are many factors to consider.

I am writing to ask that you stand firm, and refuse to add Michigan to any settlement
that would give criminal immunity to the defendants. Our ongoing investigations have
demonstrated that the major banks in this settlement, and their hired document mills,
were engaged in the practice of robo-signing. Hundreds of residents here in Ingham
County, and thousands of residents across the state, were illegally foreclosed upon
because of this practice.

These illegalities have stolen due process from our own citizens, and robbed them of
precious time that could have been used to recover and resume their mortgages, or obtain
a modification. A family who is facing a foreclosure is already vulnerable; this
practice insured that they could not possibly reclaim their home.

We have even received information in recent days that shows LPS, a document mill included
in the proposed settlement, specifically requested to have this criminal investigation
converted to a civil lawsuit. It seems clear that they are aware of their vulnerability
to these charges, and are attempting to save their company’s stock price by avoiding
responsibility.

All I am asking is that we treat the banks in the same way we would treat our own
citizens. If a person in Michigan were to commit fraud and forgery, and use these
practices to take someone’s property, that person would go to jail. I respectfully
request that we leave that same possibility open for the banks and corporations that have
committed those same crimes here in our state.

Sincerely,
Curtis Hertel
Ingham County Register of Deeds

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LPS Uses Bogus Florida IG Report on Firing of Foreclosure Fraud Investigators in Motion to Dismiss Nevada Lawsuit

LPS Uses Bogus Florida IG Report on Firing of Foreclosure Fraud Investigators in Motion to Dismiss Nevada Lawsuit


If this isn’t proof something isn’t smelling right at the Florida’s AG’s office, I don’t know what this is?

When you read David Dayens article, keep in mind where the assignments came from… LPS/DOCx!

FDL-

We’re at T-minus four days for sign-ons to the foreclosure fraud settlement, and we know that Florida’s Pam Bondi is on board, despite pushback from advocates in her state, ground zero for the foreclosure crisis. There’s an interesting nugget buried in this article, though.

Bondi spokeswoman Jennifer Meale said in an email that their concerns are “misguided” because the settlement would provide a historic level of monetary relief and will overhaul the mortgage industry.

“Rather than engaging in political grandstanding, Attorney General Bondi is working hard to reach an agreement that gets Floridians substantial relief now and holds banks accountable for their misconduct,” Meale wrote.

The settlement is expected to provide $1,800 each for about 750,000 families across the country. It is a response to such practices as “robo-signing” by bank employees who often knew little or nothing about the mortgage documents they were hired to sign.

Nevada, New York, Delaware, New Hampshire and Massachusetts contend the deal isn’t strong enough because it would protect banks from future civil liability.

It will not, though, fully release them from future state criminal lawsuits.

Put aside Bondi’s dissembling for a second …

[FIRE DOG LAKE]

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Fla. AG urged to get tough on foreclosure deal

Fla. AG urged to get tough on foreclosure deal


Miami Herald-

Religious and community groups urged Attorney General Pam Bondi on Monday to take a tougher stance on a proposed settlement with the nation’s five largest mortgage lenders over deceptive foreclosure practices.

A pair of ministers and an evicted former homeowner delivered a letter after holding a news conference outside Bondi’s office at the Capitol.

They contend the proposed $25 billion national deal that Bondi supports doesn’t go far enough. They say that’s because the negative equity on homes in Florida alone is about $120 billion.

[MIAMI HERALD]

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RePost- MUST READ RELEASE: From Andrew Bennett Spark, Assistant Attorney General, Tampa Economic Crimes

RePost- MUST READ RELEASE: From Andrew Bennett Spark, Assistant Attorney General, Tampa Economic Crimes


RELEASE:

From Andrew Bennett Spark, Assistant Attorney General, Tampa Economic Crimes

August 8, 2011
Cell: 941.321.5927

I. Introduction
By way of introduction, I have served as an Assistant Attorney General in the Economic Crimes Division of the Florida Attorney General’s Office since March of 2004, first in Orlando, and the last 6 ½ years in Tampa. I have been reading articles concerning the controversies swirling around the Attorney General’s Office with respect to the forcedresignations of June Clarkson and Theresa Edwards (from whom I took over day-to-day handling of the ProVest investigation), and the employment of Joe Jacquot with Lender Processing Services, one of the companies at the heart of the foreclosure robo-signing issues. While I have a significantly different philosophy concerning these cases than Clarkson, Edwards, and most other homeowner advocates, the people of the State of Florida are entitled to fair and honest government, independent of personal connections and powerful interests, and I have decided to speak out.

As an important caveat, please note that the below contains various factual statements, and asks questions. If I ask a question, it is because I truly do not know the answer, not because I am implying any particular answer to the question.

II. Former Director of Economic Crimes Mary Leontakianakos now works for foreclosure law firm Marshall Watson
Joe Jacquot is not the only high-ranking recent member of the Attorney General’s Office to now be working with a company which has been the subject of one of our foreclosure investigations. Mary Leontakianakos, who was Director of Economic Crimes until approximately January 3 of this year has, according to The Florida Bar, taken a job at foreclosure firm Marshall Watson.
http://www.floridabar.org/names.nsf/0/C1D818F4CF8FA1EE85256A8400081E2D?Open

Document Leontakianakos was centrally involved in the foreclosure investigations while leading our Division, including the investigation of Marshall Watson:
http://www.abc-7.com/Global/story.asp?S=12968488

It appears that Watson and/or Leontakianakos have been secreting her employment from the public. By using a personal email address as her contact email address rather than the Marshall Watson email address suffix MarshallWatson.com, Leontakianakos has been able to avoid search functions which would reveal her affiliation. It is through the use of email suffixes that one may search the Florida Bar’s database for former employees of the foreclosure firms under investigation. In addition, Watson has taken down the portion of his website showing the attorneys in the firm; it appears to be the only portion of his website that is inaccessible from elsewhere on the firm’s website (interestingly enough, Watson’s own attorney profile on that portion of the website is easily found directly from a Google search, and so does Caryn Graham’s, but there’s none for Leontakianakos)..

As has been widely reported, the Attorney General’s Office entered into a settlement with Marshall Watson in March of this year. A copy of the settlement agreement with Marshall Watson is found here:

http://myfloridalegal.com/webfiles.nsf/WF/SKNS-8FAHED/$file/WatsonAVC.pdf

Note that Paragraph 4.1 of the agreement requires Marshall Watson to name a liaison to the Attorney General’s Office. Is Mary Leontakianakos that liaison? I do not know. However, Leontakianakos’ address on The Florida Bar website is listed as Fort Lauderdale, and yet a search of the website of the Broward County Clerk of Court reveals that she has not appeared as an attorney in a lawsuit in Broward County – ever.

If Leontakianakos is that liaison, would she have been switching sides during the course of a controversy, Rule 4-1.9 of The Florida Bar states, “[a] lawyer who has formerly represented a client in a matter shall not thereafter:

(a) represent another person in the same or a substantially related matter in which that person’s interests are materially adverse to the interests of the former client unless the former client gives informed consent;”

Of course, the Economic Crimes Division acts in a parens patriae role as a representative of the people of the State of Florida. Consent of the people of the state cannot meaningfully be given in such a situation – and judging by the reaction of so many of people in the state the past few weeks since the Clarkson/Edwards/Jacquot story broke, it is safe to say such consent by the people would not be given even if it meaningfully could be given.

The Case Report for the investigation indicates that attorney Caryn Graham is the “point person” to contact at Watson for concerns about the AVC. According to The Florida Bar website, Graham is still with the Watson firm. Watson recently hired former Broward Chief Judge Tobin in a supervisory capacity. Indeed, the Miami Herald reported that Tobin said he would not spend much time in the courtroom.
http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/05/18/2222892/browards-chief-judge-resigns.html

If Leontakianakos is not actually the liaison, despite the entry about Graham in the Case Report, this begs a few questions, one of which is what, if anything, Leontakianakos is doing there?

The other question that arises is whether Leontakianakos’ hiring by Watson is connected to the settlement. The settlement agreement does not specify as such; however, I have been told by someone in my office that in another case some years back, another highranking individual with Economic Crimes received a job with a subsequent employer out of settlement proceeds from a case – and the connection between the settlement and the job was not disclosed.

Perhaps tellingly, the Attorney Geneal’s press release concerning the Watson settlement states, “The Marshall Watson firm fully cooperated with theinvestigation since its inception.”
http://myfloridalegal.com/__852562220065EE67.nsf/0/478149A91AA0E2528525785E0
06C1EED?Open&Highlight=0,marshall,watson

During her tenure as Director of Economic Crimes, Leontakianakos encouraged side agreements that werecontemporaneous with but not memorialized in the formal settlement documents (“AVC”s). Perhaps as some sort of Freudian-like slip reflective of what may be in effect a golden parachute, on the Bar website Leontakianakos still describes her practice in the “Occupation” field as “Government attorney.” The Marshall Watson settlement contains an unusual provision, paragraph 6.1, requiring the Attorney General to close the investigation upon the execution by all parties. It is typical for our office to close investigations following execution, and parties do typically want the public to know that the investigation is closed; what it is unusual, however, at least in my experience, is for the settlement agreement to explicitly state as such memorializing the closing as a priority. Why the extra concern? (Interestingly enough, despite that provision, I should note that the investigation is now open – I don’t know whether it remained opened or was reopened).

[…]

THIS IS MINDBLOWING…continue below!!

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Abigail Field: Meet FL AG Pam Bondi, Foreclosure Fraudsters’ BFF

Abigail Field: Meet FL AG Pam Bondi, Foreclosure Fraudsters’ BFF


I’d like to add this tid bit: An attorney for Lender Processing, Martin Fiorentino, who lobbied on behalf of the company, is actively involved in both state and national politics. Fiorentino is a well-known political fundraising bundler, and has raised at least $102,9000 for presidential hopeful Mitt Romney. The Fiorentino Group has been paid at least $180,000 by Lender Processing Services since 2009.

Guess which Presidential candidate Bondi just endorsed?

Abigail C. Field-

Our national foreclosure crisis has epicenters; Florida is one. Florida’s Multiple Listing Service currently lists 15,755 foreclosure properties in Miami alone (Jan 8, 2012). Prices have fallen so far in some areas homes are selling for less than “a used Toyota.”

Foreclosure statistics, like all numbers, fail to convey the human misery involved. If “irresponsible borrowers” caused Florida’s crisis, well, no one would look to the Attorney General for action. What does law enforcement have to do with irresponsible borrowers? But that’s not what happened–banker fraud and gambling wrecked the housing market. And now the banks are resorting to document fraud to process the millions of foreclosures their earlier bad acts set in motion.

[REALITY CHECK]

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Pam Bondi cleared of ‘political’ firing charges

Pam Bondi cleared of ‘political’ firing charges


“I will only have the very best, most skilled people on the job; those who embody the highest standards of ethics, responsibility, professionalism, and performance,” Bondi wrote. “These two staff attorneys clearly and repeatedly failed to measure up to these standards.”

With all the evidence, where is Florida’s lawsuit against LPS? Nevada had to take the bull by the horns since you couldn’t. Speaking of “ethics, responsibility, professionalism, and performance” … NEXT!

Sun Sentinel-

An independent report released Friday cleared Attorney General Pam Bondi‘s office of any wrongdoing in the May firings of two lawyers in her South Florida office who were nationally recognized for exposing foreclosure fraud and unsavory mortgage lending practices.

The long-awaited report from Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater‘s office said no laws or policies were violated in the dismissal of Theresa Edwards and June Clarkson, who had argued that their firings came down to politics, not performance.

“A review of the circumstances surrounding the termination of Edwards and Clarkson, along with the information gathered during this inquiry, did not warrant initiating a formal investigation into a potential violation of law, rule or policy,” the report says. “During the course of the inquiry there was no specific allegation of wrongdoing made by any person, and no discovery of evidence of wrongdoing on the part of anyone involved in the matter.”

[SUN SENTINEL]

image: i-tube.net

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Fired in scandal, former assistant AG Erin Cullaro on ethics panel

Fired in scandal, former assistant AG Erin Cullaro on ethics panel


TBO-

TAMPA —

Erin Cullaro, a former assistant Florida attorney general who was fired last year after moonlighting for a “foreclosure mill,” continues to serve on a state committee that investigates other lawyers for ethical violations.

Some lawyers and consumer advocates question whether such a position of authority with the Florida Bar is appropriate.

“The bar’s self monitoring leaves much to be desired,” said Lisa Epstein, of Foreclosure Hamlet.org, which tracks cases of foreclosure fraud.

Cullaro, who worked for the attorney general’s economic crimes division in Tampa, was fired in April following a formal reprimand by Gov. Rick Scott’s office, which questioned variations of her signature on legal documents.

[TBO]

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Critics: Bondi lax in pursuing big mortgage lenders amid continuing foreclosure crisis

Critics: Bondi lax in pursuing big mortgage lenders amid continuing foreclosure crisis


Lax is a major understatement given the Atomic Bomb Nevada AG just dropped… on an Organization Bondi claims is investigating, with headquarters in Florida!

Orlando Sentinel-

As attorneys general in other foreclosure-battered states step up their investigations into fraudulent mortgage practices by large U.S. banks, some Florida groups are accusing state Attorney General Pam Bondi of being soft on the giant lenders.

Florida’s Democratic state senators recently released a video that targets Bondi, a Republican elected to a nonpartisan office. Titled “Ignoring the Florida Foreclosure Crisis,” the video contrasts new fraud investigations launched by California Attorney General Kamala Harris with controversial forced resignations of two key mortgage-fraud investigators in Bondi’s Fort Lauderdale office.

[ORLANDO SENTINEL]

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FL Albertelli Law Firm, owners of PREO.com, which is under investigation by FL AG could profit if foreclosure notices move online

FL Albertelli Law Firm, owners of PREO.com, which is under investigation by FL AG could profit if foreclosure notices move online


WTSP-

Two state lawmakers want home foreclosure notices to go online – not in your local newspaper. A law firm in the Bay area stands to make big bucks off the switch, but that firm is under investigation by the Florida attorney general.

Even if you don’t read them, foreclosure notices show up in most local papers multiple times each week. However, State Sen. Steve Wise (R-Jacksonville) and Rep. Dennis Baxley (R-Ocala) want to move those legal notices to the digital world with two bills filed at the state capitol.

[WTSP]

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The Foreclosure Crisis: As California’s AG Issues Subpoenas, Florida’s AG Quits Worrying

The Foreclosure Crisis: As California’s AG Issues Subpoenas, Florida’s AG Quits Worrying


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

December 1, 2011

CONTACT: Michelle DeMarco, 850.487.5833

 

 

 

.

The Foreclosure Crisis: As California’s AG Issues Subpoenas, Florida’s AG Quits Worrying

This Week on the Florida Senate Democratic Update

 

Tallahassee — In the ongoing foreclosure crisis, California and Florida have a lot in common when it comes to the high number of people caught in its grip, but that’s about where the similarities end. California’s attorney general has been aggressively pursuing banks and lender service companies, recently issuing another round of subpoenas in her drive to pursue criminal and civil charges on behalf of victims of mortgage fraud and other unscrupulous foreclosure practices.

In Florida, Attorney General Pam Bondi took a decidedly different track. Not only did she move to protect financial companies from criminal prosecution, but fired two of the most aggressive attorneys in her agency pursuing mortgage fraud shortly after taking office. News of the ouster prompted a flurry of activity to justify the abrupt dismissals, with the attorney general apparently more concerned with her own well being than that of victimized homeowners. “I can finally go to sleep now and quit worrying about how these women will attempt to destroy me,” Bondi confided in one late-night email.

This week on the Florida Senate Democratic Update, Senator Eleanor Sobel (D-Hollywood) talks about Florida’s approach to the foreclosure fraud crisis, and the firings of June Clarkson and Theresa Edwards.  Three months after Bondi’s request to a fellow Republican Cabinet member for an “outside” investigation of the dismissals, Senator Sobel is still waiting for answers.

Watch this week’s reality check at: http://www.youtube.com/flasenatedems or www.flsenate.gov/offices/minority.

###

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Bondi has wrong priority

Bondi has wrong priority


You should know by now that no one and I mean no one is coming to the borrowers rescue, even after all the fraud, after all the robo-signing… No one has tried to put a stop to this fraud.

A simple halt to investigate and an examination of the documents would easily demonstrate the massive fraud happening to titles to real estate. Each day that goes by, families continue to get evicted.

But NO.

PERIOD.

END OF STORY.

Palm Beach Post-

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi’s effort to play catch-up and clear her name following the revelation that her office fired two highly praised foreclosure fraud attorneys suggests that she is more concerned with her image than her job.

In July, The Post’s Kim Miller broke the story of the firings, which happened in May. On Tuesday, Ms. Miller reported on emails related to the firings. In one, Ms. Bondi responds to a statement detailing that June Clarkson and Theresa Edwards were fired because of “shoddy legal work” by saying, “I can finally go to sleep now and quit worrying about how these women will attempt to destroy me.”

In another email, Ms. Bondi wrote that she learned about the firings during a “two-minute phone call” and that she “did not even know the details, nor should I have needed to know.”

Therein lies the problem.

[PALM BEACH POST]

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Internal FL AG’s Office Emails Show “Secret” Discussions About LPS & DOCX

Internal FL AG’s Office Emails Show “Secret” Discussions About LPS & DOCX


A few email discussions of the FL AG’s office that show what went on behind closed doors. Go thru them and thanks to Foreclosure Hamlet for these gems.

Please click on the links below.

 

[M-Hamilton-to-LPS]

[V-Butler-to-LPS]

[B-Julian-to-LPS-1]

[B-Julian-to-LPS-2]

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FL AG Pam Bondi Going After Fraud, But Not What You’re Thinking…

FL AG Pam Bondi Going After Fraud, But Not What You’re Thinking…


“If she thinks that timeshare fraud is where they should be directing their attention, that reflects poorly on the people of Florida”

– Barry Ritholtz

Miami Herald-

TALLAHASSEE — Despite Florida’s struggles with Medicare fraud, foreclosure “robo-signing” and prescription drug “pill mills,” the attorney general’s top legislative priority is to clean up timeshare resale fraud.

Attorney General Pam Bondi says timeshare resale fraud is by far the top consumer complaint her office has received in the past two years. With more than 19,000 complaints since 2009, timeshare resales fraud outnumbers the next four categories combined. To tackle the growing problem, Bondi teamed up this month with two Republican lawmakers to sponsor the Timeshare Resale Accountability Act.

.
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Florida AG Pam Bondi Pressured By Targets Of Investigations To Soften Approach, Critics Say

Florida AG Pam Bondi Pressured By Targets Of Investigations To Soften Approach, Critics Say


ALL-in-ONE, Excellent report by HuffPo’s William Alden on the facts of what went down, when those who work for the people get fired, pushed out for getting a bit too close to exposing the AG’s office.

Is she waiting for the statue of limitations to run it’s course? When there is much more left to expose.

HuffPO-

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Last December, when she was still investigating foreclosure fraud as a top lawyer in the Florida attorney general’s office, June Clarkson gave a PowerPoint presentation to a legal association.

Her presentation amounted to an indictment of Lender Processing Services, or LPS, a company near the center of ongoing state investigations into claims that foreclosures have been rushed en masse through the legal machinery, without proper documentation. She flashed images of paperwork on a screen under the heading “forgeries,” asserting that LPS’ former subsidiary, Docx, had produced phony documents to justify unlawful foreclosures.

The legal association later sent Clarkson a thank-you note, calling her tutorial “invaluable.” Word of her presentation reached New York, where a state Supreme Court judge cited it in a harshly-worded ruling that a bank lacked the right to foreclose on a Brooklyn home.

But the Jacksonville-based LPS was furious …

[HUFFINGTON POST]

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LPS lawyer Joe Jacquot defends himself in AG scandal

LPS lawyer Joe Jacquot defends himself in AG scandal


Common sense, one would’ve recused themselves from even communicating with a high profile corp. that is under investigation from the AG’s office and in some states under criminal. Creates a “conflict” wouldn’t you think? Maybe unless you know for a fact that nothing will happen.

First thing comes to mind is why would one continue to pursue a job, knowing there might be a very good chance the company making headlines nationwide for fraud would even stay in business? Don’t many of the businesses the AG’s investigate get shut down when they find a mountain of fraud? Secondly why are other states and NOT Florida going after a criminal investigation when the company under investigation headquarters are indeed in Florida? Makes no sense.

We don’t see anyone from the New York AG’s office running to work for lets say Bank Of America…or in talks to find employment there.

Orlando Sentinel

TALLAHASSEE — A former state government lawyer now working for a firm under investigation by the state in a foreclosure fraud case said Thursday that he had nothing to do with foreclosures while he worked in the attorney general’s office.

Three Democratic lawmakers said this week they want legislation passed to prevent lawyers for government agencies from leaving the state to go work for firms that are under investigation. The proposal is aimed, the lawmakers say, in part at Joe Jacquot, who left the attorney general’s office earlier this year and has come under scrutiny for going to work for a Jacksonville company, Lender Processing Services, that was under investigation by the office, while he was there.

Jacquot said in an interview with The News Service of Florida on Thursday that not only did he not have anything to do with the probe of foreclosure firms started under former Attorney General Bill McCollum, he formally notified McCollum when he began talking to LPS as a possible future employer, and asked to be kept completely out of the loop on any discussions related to the company. Jacquot was one of two deputy attorneys general in McCollum’s office, and was McCollum’s chief of staff.

[ORLANDO SENTINEL]

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Assistant attorney general resigns after memo blasting Florida AG’s office

Assistant attorney general resigns after memo blasting Florida AG’s office


Doesn’t the last paragraph seem way off? Yes, what about those who did leave the AG’s office to go work at firms that were busted for Massive Fraud and currently under investigation today?

Exactly how, when and where did the discussions about employment come about? This is going to get extremely interesting.

Palm Beach Post

Andrew Spark, an assistant state attorney general in the Tampa office of economic crimes, resigned Wednesday, a day after he released a 16-page memo discussing grievances he has with the Florida attorney general’s office.

Spark said his memo, which he emailed to media outlets, was motivated by the forced resignations of former state foreclosure investigators June Clarkson and Theresa Edwards.

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi said today that Spark was the subject of an ongoing investigation for using the services of a business he was investigating.

[PALM BEACH POST]

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LAST CALL | Before Florida Dems pledge to file Pam Bondi-inspired ‘Investigation Integrity Act’

LAST CALL | Before Florida Dems pledge to file Pam Bondi-inspired ‘Investigation Integrity Act’


Orlando Sentinel-

TALLAHASSEE — Two Democratic lawmakers said Wednesday they planned to file a reform proposal inspired by Attorney General Pam Bondi to place stronger revolving-door prohibitions into state law.

Reps. Darren Soto, D-Orlando, and Ron Saunders, D-Key West, said in a press release that the “Florida Investigation Integrity Act” they’re filing was inspired when “the Attorney General’s special counsel on foreclosure fraud “a special counsel in the Attorney General’s office esigned and then, reportedly, accepted employment with an organization he had been investigating. that has been under investigation for its foreclosure practices. Subsequently, two other attorneys in the office who were investigating the matter foreclosure fraud were terminated from their jobs.” (The updated statement was released late Wednesday afternoon.)

Background on the case, as well as Bondi, here.

[ORLANDO SENTINEL]

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MUST READ RELEASE: From Andrew Bennett Spark, Assistant Attorney General, Tampa Economic Crimes

MUST READ RELEASE: From Andrew Bennett Spark, Assistant Attorney General, Tampa Economic Crimes


RELEASE:

From Andrew Bennett Spark, Assistant Attorney General, Tampa Economic Crimes

August 8, 2011
Cell: 941.321.5927

I. Introduction
By way of introduction, I have served as an Assistant Attorney General in the Economic Crimes Division of the Florida Attorney General’s Office since March of 2004, first in Orlando, and the last 6 ½ years in Tampa. I have been reading articles concerning the controversies swirling around the Attorney General’s Office with respect to the forcedresignations of June Clarkson and Theresa Edwards (from whom I took over day-to-day handling of the ProVest investigation), and the employment of Joe Jacquot with Lender Processing Services, one of the companies at the heart of the foreclosure robo-signing issues. While I have a significantly different philosophy concerning these cases than Clarkson, Edwards, and most other homeowner advocates, the people of the State of Florida are entitled to fair and honest government, independent of personal connections and powerful interests, and I have decided to speak out.

As an important caveat, please note that the below contains various factual statements, and asks questions. If I ask a question, it is because I truly do not know the answer, not because I am implying any particular answer to the question.

II. Former Director of Economic Crimes Mary Leontakianakos now works for foreclosure law firm Marshall Watson
Joe Jacquot is not the only high-ranking recent member of the Attorney General’s Office to now be working with a company which has been the subject of one of our foreclosure investigations. Mary Leontakianakos, who was Director of Economic Crimes until approximately January 3 of this year has, according to The Florida Bar, taken a job at foreclosure firm Marshall Watson.
http://www.floridabar.org/names.nsf/0/C1D818F4CF8FA1EE85256A8400081E2D?Open

Document Leontakianakos was centrally involved in the foreclosure investigations while leading our Division, including the investigation of Marshall Watson:
http://www.abc-7.com/Global/story.asp?S=12968488

It appears that Watson and/or Leontakianakos have been secreting her employment from the public. By using a personal email address as her contact email address rather than the Marshall Watson email address suffix MarshallWatson.com, Leontakianakos has been able to avoid search functions which would reveal her affiliation. It is through the use of email suffixes that one may search the Florida Bar’s database for former employees of the foreclosure firms under investigation. In addition, Watson has taken down the portion of his website showing the attorneys in the firm; it appears to be the only portion of his website that is inaccessible from elsewhere on the firm’s website (interestingly enough, Watson’s own attorney profile on that portion of the website is easily found directly from a Google search, and so does Caryn Graham’s, but there’s none for Leontakianakos)..

As has been widely reported, the Attorney General’s Office entered into a settlement with Marshall Watson in March of this year. A copy of the settlement agreement with Marshall Watson is found here:

http://myfloridalegal.com/webfiles.nsf/WF/SKNS-8FAHED/$file/WatsonAVC.pdf

Note that Paragraph 4.1 of the agreement requires Marshall Watson to name a liaison to the Attorney General’s Office. Is Mary Leontakianakos that liaison? I do not know. However, Leontakianakos’ address on The Florida Bar website is listed as Fort Lauderdale, and yet a search of the website of the Broward County Clerk of Court reveals that she has not appeared as an attorney in a lawsuit in Broward County – ever.

If Leontakianakos is that liaison, would she have been switching sides during the course of a controversy, Rule 4-1.9 of The Florida Bar states, “[a] lawyer who has formerly represented a client in a matter shall not thereafter:

(a) represent another person in the same or a substantially related matter in which that person’s interests are materially adverse to the interests of the former client unless the former client gives informed consent;”

Of course, the Economic Crimes Division acts in a parens patriae role as a representative of the people of the State of Florida. Consent of the people of the state cannot meaningfully be given in such a situation – and judging by the reaction of so many of people in the state the past few weeks since the Clarkson/Edwards/Jacquot story broke, it is safe to say such consent by the people would not be given even if it meaningfully could be given.

The Case Report for the investigation indicates that attorney Caryn Graham is the “point person” to contact at Watson for concerns about the AVC. According to The Florida Bar website, Graham is still with the Watson firm. Watson recently hired former Broward Chief Judge Tobin in a supervisory capacity. Indeed, the Miami Herald reported that Tobin said he would not spend much time in the courtroom.
http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/05/18/2222892/browards-chief-judge-resigns.html

If Leontakianakos is not actually the liaison, despite the entry about Graham in the Case Report, this begs a few questions, one of which is what, if anything, Leontakianakos is doing there?

The other question that arises is whether Leontakianakos’ hiring by Watson is connected to the settlement. The  settlement agreement does not specify as such; however, I have been told by someone in my office that in another case some years back, another highranking individual with Economic Crimes received a job with a subsequent employer out of settlement proceeds from a case – and the connection between the settlement and the job was not disclosed.

Perhaps tellingly, the Attorney Geneal’s press release concerning the Watson settlement states, “The Marshall Watson firm fully cooperated with theinvestigation since its inception.”
http://myfloridalegal.com/__852562220065EE67.nsf/0/478149A91AA0E2528525785E0
06C1EED?Open&Highlight=0,marshall,watson

During her tenure as Director of Economic Crimes, Leontakianakos encouraged side agreements that werecontemporaneous with but not memorialized in the formal settlement documents (“AVC”s). Perhaps as some sort of Freudian-like slip reflective of what may be in effect a golden parachute, on the Bar website Leontakianakos still describes her practice in the “Occupation” field as “Government attorney.” The Marshall Watson settlement contains an unusual provision, paragraph 6.1, requiring the Attorney General to close the investigation upon the execution by all parties. It is typical for our office to close investigations following execution, and parties do typically want the public to know that the investigation is closed; what it is unusual, however, at least in my experience, is for the settlement agreement to explicitly state as such memorializing the closing as a priority. Why the extra concern? (Interestingly enough, despite that provision, I should note that the investigation is now open – I don’t know whether it remained opened or was reopened).

[…]

THIS IS MINDBLOWING…continue below!!

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SENATOR ELEANOR SOBEL, REP. DARREN SOTO PROBE DEEPER INTO FIRINGS OF ASSISTANT ATTORNEYS GENERAL

SENATOR ELEANOR SOBEL, REP. DARREN SOTO PROBE DEEPER INTO FIRINGS OF ASSISTANT ATTORNEYS GENERAL


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: MICHELLE DeMARCO
850.487.5833

AUGUST 4, 2011

SENATOR ELEANOR SOBEL, REP. DARREN SOTO PROBE DEEPER INTO FIRINGS OF ASSISTANT ATTORNEYS GENERAL
Seek details under Florida’s public records laws of relationships between Tallahassee/mortgage service company under investigation

TALLAHASSEE – State Senator Eleanor Sobel (D-Hollywood) and Representative Darren Soto (D-Orlando) on Thursday launched a probe of their own into the relationships surrounding the abrupt ouster of two top assistant attorneys general investigating widespread mortgage fraud throughout Florida.

“A number of troubling questions have come to our attention involving past and current employees of the Attorney General’s office and at least one mortgage processing company currently under investigation,” the duo wrote to Attorney General Pam Bondi in a formal public records request. “In particular, we are especially concerned with the sudden departure to Lender Processing Services of your former special counsel, Joe Jacquot, and the subsequent dismissal of two apparently top notch foreclosure fraud attorneys – June Clarkson and Theresa Edwards – from the Department of Legal Affairs.”

The circumstances surrounding Jacquot’s abrupt decision to leave the attorney general’s office sparked the lawmakers’ interest after it was learned that he had been hired in May as a senior vice president for Lender Processing Services, a company which had been under investigation for its role in questionable foreclosures throughout Florida. Jacquot had been named earlier this year as Bondi’s “special counsel.” Within approximately one week after his hiring by the company, assistant attorneys general Clarkson and Edwards were told of their dismissal and that the firings of the investigators “came from the top.” Both Clarkson and Edwards had been at the forefront of uncovering shady practices involving so-called “foreclosure mills” and were leading the probe into Lenders Processing Services.

But Jacquot is not the only connection the company shares with Tallahassee. Yet another Lender Processing Services senior vice president previously worked as general counsel and outside general counsel for the governor’s former health care company, Solantic.

The public records request seeks information specifically related to all communications, including Blackberry transmissions such as PINs and text messages involving top attorneys within the Attorney General’s office and the company, including documents relating to an “introductory meeting” held in March. It also seeks additional details on Provest, a Tampa-based mortgage servicing company also investigated by Edwards and Clarkson.

“Given the powerful ties, the high stakes, and the thousands of Florida homeowners on the line, many of whom I represent, the dismissal of June Clarkson and Theresa Edwards, and the ties between Tallahassee and these companies are critical,” said Senator Sobel. “The troubling questions surrounding these firings not only beg closer scrutiny, but deserve substantiated answers.”

“This supplemental information request is a sincere attempt to help determine what happened in regards to these dismissals,” added Rep. Soto. “The public deserves a thorough explanation.”

The move by Senator Sobel and Rep. Soto follows their request this week to U.S. Senator Bill Nelson and the U.S. Justice Department to investigate the firings. Last month, Rep. Soto also sought under Florida’s public records laws documentation substantiating claims by Bondi’s office that both Edwards and Clarkson were terminated due to “poor performance.”

A copy of the latest Sobel/Soto public records request is attached.

###

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