Plantation attorney Eve Rosen, 55, was acquitted earlier today in a Miami federal courtroom of 13 counts of bank fraud, after a jury found she did not knowingly participate in a mortgage loan scam that cost three banks $7.9 million.
From straw buyers to industry insiders, over 1,200 people have been arrested nationwide as part of "Operation Stolen Dreams," a mortgage fraud initiative of the U.S. Department of Justice reflecting the coordinated efforts of law enforcement in addressing the growing problem of crime within the mortgage industry.
Rosen was implicated in a scheme in which developer Jeffrey Phillips recruited South Florida straw buyers to create fraudulent loan applications in order to purchase vacant lots in North Florida. Between 2006 and 2008, attorney Rosen was the closing agent on each of the transactions, all of which which featured artificially inflated prices, fake income statements and falsified down payment information. In addition to the 13 counts of bank fraud, Rosen was also charged with one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud.
Rosen's lawyers said their client had no knowledge of the scam Phillips was perpetrating and was duped just like the banks. Other defendants in the case, including Phillips, the straw buyers and those who recruited them to falsify their financial information, have pleaded guilty in the scheme and are awaiting sentencing.
"She's been a practicing attorney for 25 years, with no [problems] in the past," said Russell Koonin, of the Ferraro Law Firm. "There was not one witness on the stand who could point to say that she knew" about the scheme.
Prosecutors had argued that Rosen was "deliberately ignorant," and that she played a part in preparing falsified closing documents. In returning a verdict in the ten-month old case, Rosen is among the first in the country to be acquitted by a jury of mortgage fraud.
To review Bill Lewis' entire consumer protection series, visit http://www.williamlewis.us.
William E. Lewis Jr. & Associates is a solutions based professional consulting firm specializing in the discriminating individual, business or governmental entity. To learn more, tune into The Credit Report with Bill Lewis, weekdays at 9 o'clock on AM 1470 WWNN.