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Florida foreclosure “king” could be disbarred

It’s not every day that an attorney is accused by the Florida Bar has having caused “massive and irreconcilable damage to the entire court system.” But such are the charges against one Florida attorney who was known as the “foreclosure king” during the real estate market collapse and the ensuing wave of foreclosures that forced thousands of borrowers out of their home.

According to filings in the case, his law firm left more than 100,000 abandoned court cases, and the referee overseeing the case has proposed to the Florida Supreme Court that he be disbarred for negligence in handling these cases.

His firm apparently handled 20 percent of all foreclosure in the state of Florida in 2009 and he earned millions in fees and used his volume to inflate the value of his business, which he then sold for $58 million.

To achieve these numbers, he took on more cases than he could process, and the referee’s report found his “new and inexperience” associates were handling 1,600 cases each in 2008. To process such numbers, they would have had less than one hour per case.

The long hangover that the Florida real estate market has suffered through is in part due to the fraud and sloppiness of this type behavior by lenders and practices like robo-signing. His firm was accused of forging documents, violating court orders and his attorney failing to appear in court when scheduled.

Reuters reports the Supreme Court usually accepts the findings and recommendations of the referee, but his attorney has 60 days to respond once the court dockets the findings.

Source: Reuters, “Florida attorney may be disbarred due to foreclosure ‘tsunami’,” Barbara Liston, October 1, 2013

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