Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Carmel on the Case: Foreclosure lawsuit
The Florida Attorney General's office wants to pull the plug on a group of companies it believes has miselad people desperate to save their homes from foreclosure. 7 News first exposed the operation and now investigative reporter Carmel Cafiero is back On the Case with another exclusive report.
WSVN -- Attorney William O'Toole, businessmen Randy Baker and Solomon Macari all played roles in companies the state now charges, operated schemes that misled consumers trying to save their homes from foreclosure.
Carmel Cafiero: "We've talked with people who say they may be losing their homes because of doing business with your company and you have nothing to say?"
As 7 News first reported this summer, O'Toole's law license was suspended by the State Supreme Court after he was accused of doing "great public harm" by the Florida Bar. The action was based on his involvement with Summit Legal Group.
It was located in the very same Boca Raton offices as an earlier foreclosure rescue company; Baker, Kennedy and Associates. That company closed up after the state accused it of misleading homeowners and Summit Legal Group opened up.
Court clerk: "All rise, court is now in session."
And now the state has gone to court to get an emergency order to shut it down.
Carol DeGraffenreidt: "One of the managers of that company is now sending out yet another flyer for new business - Take 2 Enterprises, continuing again in this foreclosure modification fraud."
The Attorney General's Office worries more people could be taken. Customers have complained they paid thousands of dollars but little or nothing was done to save their homes.
Carol DeGraffenreidt: "And our concern is that they are basically continuing and continuing and continuing and we just need that to stop."
Randy Baker's attorney told the court the businessman has been out of business since O'Toole's license to practice law was suspended. But I found baker at the office building well after O'Toole's suspension.
Carmel Cafiero: "I'd like to talk with you a little bit about Summit Legal Services, your involvement in the lawsuit against your company, and some reaction to the people who say your businesses have cost them their homes. Why won't you stay and talk with me?"
Baker rushed up the stairs without a single comment. And it was the same reaction when I tried to talk with Solomon Macari.
Carmel Cafiero: "I'd like to talk with you."
The state lawsuit charges both Macari and Baker falsely claimed to be attorneys.
Carmel Cafiero: "Did you tell people that you were an attorney when you're not? Did you mislead people?"
Shortly after we tried to question the two, their offices were empty. Now customers are left to worry not only about what will happen to their homes, but what will happen to their sensitive financial information.
Carmel Cafiero: "Meanwhile, the judge did order no documents collected by these companies can be destroyed while the case is still pending."
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