After a Florida couple was sentenced to years in prison for their role in running a real estate fraud ring, police thought that the case was closed. Soon after the couple was sentenced, a fraud and money laundering investigator noticed that a foreclosure surplus check was deposited into an account of an attorney connected to the case.
Upon further investigation by the Broward sheriff’s department, it was discovered that a man and a woman who worked as lawyers with the couple allegedly stole $750,000 in surplus funds that came from the sale of foreclosed homes. Investigators believe that the couple would act as if they were representing a homeowner by filing documents in court. The documents said that the homeowner was owed the surplus proceeds from the sale of their foreclosed home. They would then take the money for themselves.
The investigation originally began in 2016 when investigators discovered that there was a sophisticated, large-scale fraud ring. Those in the ring would allegedly file forged documents claiming they owned foreclosed properties by deceased individuals. Broward County then paid their company the surplus of money. The lawyers were detained by police in October 2020 and charged with money laundering, fraud and grand theft. The Florida Bar Association is looking into possibly revoking their licenses to practice law.
Those accused of a white-collar crime may face years in prison, loss of employment and the revocation of their business licenses. Since the popularity of white-collar crimes has increased in recent years, judges often invoke stern penalties to deter others from following suit. Working with an experienced criminal defense attorney is essential in navigating the criminal justice process. A lawyer may help his or her client by ensuring his or her rights are protected throughout the investigation and trial and that the burden of proof lies on the prosecution.