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Inspector general concludes state regulators weren't protecting Floridians seeking mortgages

In a scathing report on the state's oversight of the mortgage industry, chief inspector general Melinda Miguel of the Office of Financial Regulation told the governor and Cabinet today that "the laws, rules and processes were not sufficient to protect the people of the State of Florida.''

Few escaped blame in the report, which implies that not only state laws as enacted by the legislature were lax but the overseers -- from the Cabinet officials on down -- also failed to protect the public. The report was ordered by the Cabinet after a Miami Herald investigation into mortage brokers found lax oversight had granted mortgage licenses to bank robbers and other felons. The Cabinet had no discussion.

After the meeting, CFO Alex Sink and Gov. Charlie Crist both said they didn't think the former OFR chief Don Saxon, who resigned a month ago, had been vindicated.

"There's a lot of work to be done over there,'' Sink said. "Our first order of business is the advocate on behalf of Florida citizens and that wasn't being done at the Office of Financial Regulation, the report uncovered that...That's got to stop.''

She had no patience for a claim from the agency that they didn't have the resources. "If you don't have resources, you stand up at the podium over there and beat your head or your fist and you tell your bosses that you don't have enough resources and if you don't get those resources this is what will happen. Instead of, where I read in a report, that he was quoted as saying, 'Well, we worked behind the scenes.'''

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floridascamsuncovered

It's a sensitive issue in Florida, which has the nation's highest mortgage fraud rate."

THIS IS PUTTING IT MILDLY AND A MAJOR UNDERSTATEMENT! IT HAS BEEN GOING ON FOR YEARS WITH STATE OFFICALS TURNING A BLIND EYE TO THE FRAUDULENT MORTGAGE PROBLEM. THAT'S WHY WE ARE IN THE #1 SLOT FOR THE LAST FEW YEARS. THEY CANNOT SAY THAT THEY DIDN'T KNOW, RECORDS SHOW OTHERWISE, AS WELL AS CONSUMER COMPLAINTS THAT WERE FILED OVER AND OVER.

"Our first order of business is to advocate on behalf of our Florida citizens and that wasn't being done at the Office of Financial Regulation," said Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, one of three Cabinet members."

"She had no patience for a claim from the agency that they didn't have the resources. "If you don't have resources, you stand up at the podium over there and beat your head or your fist and you tell your bosses that you don't have enough resources and if you don't get those resources this is what will happen. Instead of, where I read in a report, that he was quoted as saying, 'Well, we worked behind the scenes.'''"

PRAY TELL MS. SINK, HOW WILL YOU FIX THE PROBLEM FOR FAMILIES WHO HAVE ALREADY LOST THEIR HOMES & ARE STILL LOSING THEIR HOMES TO THESE PREDATOR'S WHICH YOUR OFFICES ALLOWED TO BE LICENSED? THIS SHOULD BE VERY INTERESTING.

NOR DID GOVERNOR CRIST, ATTORNEY McCOLLUM OR YOU PAY ATTENTION TO MANY WRITTEN COMPLAINTS SENT BY MAIL, EMAIL AND TELEPHONING THEM. EVERY STATE AGENCY & INDIVIDUAL INVOLVED, SHOULD BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE FOR THIS CATASTROPHE DISASTER, WHICH COST MANY FLORIDA HOMEOWNERS TO LOSE THEIR HOMES AND BE THROWN OUT INTO THE STREETS WITH THEIR CHILDREN & PETS.

THESE INDIVIDUALS SHOULD BE FIRED, ALLOWING THEM TO RETIRE IS NOT A OPTION AT THIS POINT, SO THAT THEY MAY COLLECT A HUGE PENSION FOR NOT PROPERLY DOING THEIR JOBS! DO ANYONE OF YOU REALIZE THE DAMAGE YOU ALL HAVE CAUSED TO SO MANY FAMILIES? HOW ABOUT THE EMOTIONAL, PHYSICAL AND FINANCIAL DISTRESS? WHOSE BRIGHT IDEA IS THIS TO MAKE ANOTHER STUPID DECISION? WHAT ARE YOU ALL SHOWING BY COMMITTING ANOTHER HUGE MISTAKE? IT ACTUALLY SHOULD START WITH THE GOVERNOR, THAN ATTORNEY GENERAL McCOLLUM, SINK AND MANY OTHERS.

STOP JUST BLAMING DON SAXON, AND FINALLY TAKE SOME RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR OWN LACK OF ACTIONS ALONG WITH CRIST AND McCOLLUM ALSO OWNING UP TO THE FACT THAT YOU ALL WERE INDEED NOTIFIED BY VICTIMS OF PORCELLI. JUST THAT CASE ALONE WAS A REAL DOOZY, MS. SINK. MAYBE YOU STILL HAVEN'T LOOKED AT THOSE CASE FILES YET! INSTEAD OF PLAYING THE BLAME GAME, TAKE A LOOK IN YOUR OWN OFFICES FOR DETAILED EMAILS YOU WERE SENT. MAYBE IT WILL HELP YOU RECALL YOU TOTAL LACK OF REGARD FOR THE VICTIMS OF PORCELLI. HOW MANY OTHER NOTIFICATIONS DID YOU ALONE IGNORE BY OTHER VICTIMS THROUGHOUT FLORIDA COUNTIES?

WELL WHAT DO WE AS FLORIDA CITIZENS REALLY EXPECT ANYWAY FROM IRRSPONSIBLE ELECTED OFFICALS WHO MAKE A HUGE SALARY?

"The emergency rules - and a proposed permanent set that's pending - prohibit convicted criminals from being licensed or require a waiting period of up to 15 years depending on the type and seriousness of the crime."

NOW THIS MUST BE A MISTAKE OR A REALLY BAD JOKE! ANY CONVICTED CRIMINAL WHO HAS COMMITTED ANY TYPE OF FRAUD PRETAINING TO "ANY CREDIT RELATED PRODUCTS" SHOULD NEVER BE ALLOWED TO BE LICENSED, PERIOD!

"They sent in only names, addresses, Social Security numbers and other demographic information. That's good enough to check state crime records, but fingerprints are required for a federal criminal background check."

IF FLORIDA STATE WOULD HAVE ACTED PROPERLY SOME OF THESE CRIMINALS WOULD NEVER GOTTEN A LICENSE, AND BEEN ABLE TO STEAL HOMES FROM FAMILIES WHO WERE IN FINANCIAL DISTRESS. SOME EXAMPLES OF WHO WAS ALLOWED TO BE LICENSED WHICH ENABLED THESE INDIVIDUALS TO COMMIT FRAUD. PETER J PORCELLI II, SCOTT ALMEIDA OR MICHAEL FLETCHER. WHAT ABOUT ALL THE ATTORNEYS INVOLVED IN THIS FRAUD MESS OR THE TITLE COMPANIES, ETC....

"documenting all complaint calls and ending a requirement for citizens to put their complaints in writing."

I THOUGHT WHEN A VICTIM CALLS AND FILES A COMPLAINT WITH A STATE AGENCY THAT IT IS CONSIDERED DOCUMENTION? ARE YOU GUYS STILL IN A CATATONIC STAGE? THE QUESTION SHOULD BE "WHAT WILL IT TAKE FOR YOU MS. SINK, GOVERNOR CRIST, ATTORNEY GENERAL McCOLLUM TO FINALLY WAKE AND TAKE SOME RESPONSIBILITY FOR THIS DISASTER, AND JUST PUT THE BLAME DIRECTLY IN THE OFR'S LAP? IT'S NOT LIKE ANYONE OF YOU WEREN'T NOTIFIED BY VICTIMS IN THE LAST FEW YEARS!

MS. SINK, YOU DO REALIZE OF COURSE THAT THERE ARE EMERGENCY MOTIONS THAT CAN & COULD HAVE BEEN FILED BY VARIOUS STATE AGENCIES WHEN ALERTED TO THE HUGE PROBLEM OF MORTGAGE FRAUD IN FLORIDA!

"Crist said the next step is to put the report's recommendations into effect.

"We have a legislative session coming up in March and I am sure some members of the Legislature, with encouragement from our office, will recommend additional changes to make sure that those things don't occur again," Crist said."

SO, GOVERNOR CRIST, YOU ARE TELLING ALL THE VICTIMS AND POTENTIAL VICTIMS THAT WE HAVE TO WAIT TILL MARCH FOR ANY HELP IN STOPPING THESE CRIMINALS FROM STEALING ANYMORE HOMES? WHAT ABOUT DOING SOMETHING NOW?

GIVE ALL OF US A BETTER ANSWER THAN THAT PLEASE. I KNOW WHAT YOU GUYS SHOULD DO,
WHY NOT JUST HAVE SOMEONE ELSE TAKE OVER AS
GOVERNOR OF FLORIDA. SAME GOES FOR McCOLLUM AND SINK AND THEIR POSITIONS. MAYBE THAN FLORIDA CITIZENS HAVE A CHANCE TO HAVE SOMEONE THAT IS RESPONSIBLE ENOUGH TO MAKE SURE THAT FLORIDA CITIZENS ARE TRULY PROTECTED.

YOUR FAILURES ARE CATASTROPHE AND WE CANNOT AFFORD TO ALLOW YOU TO CONTINUE IN A POSITION THAT NEEDS LEADERSHIP THAT CAN AND WILL FOLLOW THROUGH IN PROTECTING ALL FLORIDA CITIZENS!

I AM SURE THAT I AM NOT THE ONLY ONE WHO WANTS SOME TRUTHFUL ANSWERS AND SOME KIND OF HELP ASAP.

Mortgage Advisor

Bravo, at last someone is addressing the fact the laws, rules and processes are not sufficient to protect the public. To many people are being misled not only by mortgage advisers but also by how these financial companies blatantly advertise finance packages that will be unsustainable by many in a few years. We need more than talk, how about cash penalties for the major league fraudsters!

Karyn Elliott


In February 2005 I was working at the Sarasota Herald Tribune. I had found a for sale by owner home I was interested in buying. I had just gone through a divorce and this would be my first home purchase. Cheryl Phillips was our company credit manager and she came to solicit me for her husband Verne Phillips who worked for Southeast Capital Advisors llc owned by Arthur R. Seaborne.

She took me to meet Verne and I hired him as my mortgage broker. I did not know Seaborne at this time. As the deal began I was ignored, lied to and threatened. I was refused an inspection on the house and was told by Seaborne that if I did not close without the inspection I would lose my earnest money and be sued for the price of the house.

This man falsified my loan application and forged my signature to a balloon note for 56K that he gave to the sellers as my down payment. Therefore he lied as well to the lenders at the time World Savings.

I was kept away from the house for a week after closing and was threatened by the Sarasota Police to be sent to jail if I went near the house that I now owned. I never received keys to the house and when I finally did get into the house it was filled with mold, plumbing leaks, foundation leaks, roof leaks and all the sellers trash and dirt.

Since then I tried to clean up the house to no avail, it is overrun with toxic mold to which I am allergic. I DO NOT LIVE IN THE HOUSE AS IT MAKES ME DEATHLY ILL.

I contacted the FBI and the state office of financial regulations about this crime perpetuated upon me. Detective Maslowski called me daily threatening me criminal charges for signing the loan docs I was forced to sign. His constant harassing calls cost me my job. After I found new employment a Agent Brady of the FBI began calling my new work to find me then began his barrage of harassing calls costing me yet another job.

At this point I have hired 2 different lawyers. One, Mr. Andrew Mooney took my retainer of 2k and did nothing. Then came the only lawyer I could find to accept my case of mortgage fraud and non disclosure with little funds up front as I have no money now. Lawrence P Cartelli is a family law lawyer and is barely working on my case.

After doing some investigating I have found that Art Seaborne lost his RE license after the OFR found he practiced mortgage fraud back in 1989. Why did they ever give him a mortgage brokers license in 2000 knowing he was already found guilty of fraud previously?

I now an broke, I have a house that is falling to the ground from mold, literally and I owe 290K plus on, my credit has gone from 780 to well below 400, I cannot get a job and I an destitute while Art Seaborne hires the best lawyers in the country and the sellers drag out my case for the non disclosure so I will not be able to afford to complete it and my lawyer will not communicate with me now because I cannot pay him.

I have read about the mortgage fraud victim’s fund and I desperately need this help so I can find the justice and restitution I deserve. Had the OFR not been negligent I would not be here dying as I am now. I am a 48-year-old divorced woman with a BA who now has no life. I was intended to get my Masters at USF and now I cannot even afford to eat everyday. I had a beautiful and promising life ahead of me and the State of Florida has robbed me of this life.

I can get no one from the OFR or the FBI or any other state entity to help me or to tell me what is going on. Please help me. Please!

I figure that if no one in this State takes responsibility for the crime that the state perpetuated upon me I WILL HAVE TO DO WHAT EVER I CAN TO SAVE MYSELF. I am going to write a scathing book accusing this state of the irresponsibility and crimes that the State of Florida has put on me and all the nasty details and names that go with it. I have the facts to back me up in this. I MUST DO SOMETHING TO SAVE MY LIFE!

Will you please help me? I am a law abiding and tax-paying citizen of this state. I even graduated from USF so I gave the state of Florida my hard earned money there.

I refuse to let this go and just give-up all my dreams and aspirations so the fat cats of the State of Florida can save face in their illegal dealings. I will win or die trying!

Please, please help me help myself back to a real life.

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