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Bondi says court ruling puts foreclosure fraud investigations in jeopardy

An appeals court has denied Attorney General Pam Bondi's request to allow the state Supreme Court to review a ruling she says limits her ability to fight foreclosure fraud. Because of this decision, seven pending cases are now threatened, Bondi said Thursday.

In December, the state's 4th District Court of Appeals ruled that Bondi does not have the authority to investigate a law firm for alleged fraud under the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act because attorneys' work on behalf of lenders did not constitute trade or commerce. She asked the court to certify that its decision in the  Law Offices of David Stern, P.A. v. State of Florida case passes upon a question of great public importance so that she could appeal to the Supreme Court.

She announced Thursday that the appellate judge had refused the request, which precludes her from seeking a higher court's review.

"This decision poses a unique challenge, and the Attorney General’s Office will now assess each of its seven pending investigations into law firms for potential misconduct in foreclosure cases to determine whether there are other avenues through which the Attorney General’s Office can pursue
foreclosure-related misconduct," Bondi's spokeswoman Jenn Meale said in a news release.