Thousands of criminals have been working in Florida's mortgage industry.

By
Industry Observer with No longer practicing real estate as of 2008.

I was reading the news online this morning and of course this headline caught my attention right away

"The report says the Florida Office of Financial Regulation issued licenses to more than 10,000 people with criminal records, including more than 4,000 that cleared background checks despite committing crimes such as fraud, racketeering and extortion."

"The office is also accused of failing to perform criminal background checks most of the time, despite a state law that mandates such checks."

"The man in charge of the Office of Financial Regulation, Commissioner Don Saxon, says he has no idea why his staff issued licenses to bank robbers and those convicted of fraud."

What the heck were they thinking?  Issuing a license to someone with a criminal record?  Good grief, all those people need to be fired!  That's pretty pathetic to say the least!  These people they gave a license to have access to all those people's financial information and they didn't think it was important enough to read through the background check, to check for crimes before issuing them a license?  DUH!

So what are people supposed to do now?  Run their own background check on their mortgage broker before giving up any personal or financial information?

Comments (12)

Sean Allen
International Financing Solutions - Fort Myers, FL
International Financing Solutions

Hey Becky,

I wrote a blog on this very subject last night. Unfortunately, I am not surprised at the findings. Ever since I got into the mortgage business 5 yrs ago, I could see that this was an issue do to the lack of regulations by the state.

Sean Allen

Jul 22, 2008 01:13 AM
Ray Nelson
Exit Realty Expertise - Fredericksburg, VA

Becky, great post and something we should all be aware of when doing business with a lender.  Not every mortgage broker is a crook, but state mismanagement like this explains why so many REALTORs are distrustful.

Jul 22, 2008 01:16 AM
Rebecca Schrader
Competitive Insurance of Dundee - Dundee, FL

Put the government in charge of anything and see what you get?  What will happen to the people in charge here?  Firing?  Demotion?  Likely, nothing!

Jul 22, 2008 01:19 AM
Becky Troutt
No longer practicing real estate as of 2008. - Bradenton, FL

Sean, this is just crazy.

Ray, good point.  Wonder how many licensed agents are also criminals!  And yes, we all know that not every agent or broker is a crook. 

Schrader, they NEED to all be fired.  Plain and simple.  Probably just get a slap on the hand with a "don't do that again" sort of talking to though like you say.

Jul 22, 2008 01:20 AM
Karen Anne Stone
New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County - Fort Worth, TX
Fort Worth Real Estate

Becky:  This is just another example of your Realtor fees and tax dollars at work.  There really is no excuse whatsoever for stuff like this.

Jul 22, 2008 02:13 AM
James Armstrong
Expert Real Estate Advisors - Mount Dora, FL
I handle everything from contract to closing

It is such a shame that licensing and regulation is put in place to prevent these sort of criminals from entering the business and yet our government is not following through on their part to do background checks and properly screen applicants.   No wonder we sometimes get a bad rap in this business, for everyone like myself with no criminal record who runs and conducts an ethical business there is always someone out there looking to illegally take advantage of the situation and make everyone look bad in the process. 

Jul 22, 2008 02:39 AM
Mana Tulberg
805 County Real Estate - Camarillo, CA
Real Estate Agent - Camarillo CA

Becky, This is truly a crime and no way to reverse what has been done to these people. The criminals have no place in a business where trust and money is involved.

Jul 22, 2008 04:31 AM
Karen Anne Stone
New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County - Fort Worth, TX
Fort Worth Real Estate

Becky:  I am guessing that the folks in Florida feel that if it is ok that we have criminals in the current White House (which we do) then it's probably ok that they are all over Florida.  Leading by example is something Bush and Cheney have done for years.  Nothing they do surprises me anymore.

Jul 22, 2008 04:57 PM
Steve Dibert
MFI-Miami - Fort Lauderdale, FL

Someone posted this on Broker Outpost last night.  I I guess I picked a good time to start my mortgage fraud investigation company, www.mfi-miami.com

Steve

Jul 22, 2008 05:20 PM
Jeremy Butts
Real Estate Entrepreneur - Louisville, KY
Investor

In addition, The Miami Herald wrote:
"...the case of Donald Smith, who was sentenced to 17 years in prison for strangling his wife and dumping her body in Tampa Bay. Saxon said staff did not "timely review" information submitted by Smith and had to issue the license because an administrative deadline expired."
I noted some other amazing findings on my blog entry "Dump A Body, Then Sell A Loan".

Jul 25, 2008 07:53 AM
Todd Clark
eXp Realty LLC - Tigard, OR
Principle Broker Oregon

I think the head of that office needs to be in jail himself for allowing this to happen, especially if any, even one of these criminals used their license to commit fraud against a consumer.

Todd Clark, Helping Families Home - www.IFoundYourNewHome.com

Jul 26, 2008 03:55 PM
Sandy Shores FL Realtor®, Melbourne Real Estate
M & M Realty of Brevard Inc. - Melbourne, FL
Brevard County Real Estate, Florida's Space Coast

Hey Becky,  You asked, what the heck where they thinking...well, my response would be...they weren't thinking!  You're right - truly unbelievable!

Jul 27, 2008 07:01 AM

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