The Real Deal Miami

Fla. lawyers getting away with foreclosure fraud

May 03, 2013 12:00PM

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi

Banks have paid millions of dollars to settle allegations that they wrongfully foreclosed on thousands of homeowners since the housing industry collapsed five years ago. Loan companies have been charged with submitting fake documents on banks’ behalf.

Lawyers and law firms who served as middlemen in the same faulty transactions have not been adequately punished, critics told the Associated Press.

Law firms that handled thousands of foreclosures have been accused of falsifying documents with fake signatures, backdating records and failing to provide homeowners with adequate notice about the risk of foreclosure, the wire service said.

Attorney General Pam Bondi told the AP there was little she could do after an appellate court blocked an investigative subpoena submitted from her office. Any punishment would have to come from the Florida Bar, she said, which has so far initiated disciplinary proceedings against two attorneys out of 330 cases being investigated.

Several Florida firms that handled hundreds of thousands of foreclosures have been accused of “robo-signing” documents with fake signatures. Florida’s legislature could pass a bill today that would speed up the foreclosure process. [AP]Emily Schmall