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The company has also hired away a top official once tasked with investigating economic crimes. Former Deputy Attorney General Joe Jacquot accepted a job as senior vice president of government affairs for LPS the same month Clarkson and Edwards were fired. Mary Leontakianakos, who was director of economic crimes during their tenure, took a job at the law firm of Marshall Watson, which had prepared Lynn Szymoniak's faulty paperwork.
Emails also show the company lobbying top prosecutors. When the Michigan attorney general publicized an investigation of the company, Meyer, the LPS attorney, emailed Vicki Butler, an economic crimes unit supervisor.
"These public announcements can deeply impact LPS's business operations and stock price," she complained. In another email, she asked Butler to try to persuade the Michigan office to pursue a civil, rather than criminal, case against the company.
In the end, by firing LPS's harshest critics — herself and Edwards — Clarkson says, "Bondi was, in my opinion, protecting LPS."
Bondi's office declined to comment for this story. LPS says in a statement that it "has fully cooperated with Attorneys General... LPS is not aware of any person who was wrongfully foreclosed upon as a result of a potential error in the processes used by its employees."
There have been some significant court victories against firms preying on foreclosed homeowners since Edwards and Clarkson left the prosecutor's office.
Szymoniak, who later aired her findings about Linda Green's signatures in a 60 Minutes episode, sued Bank of America, J.P. Morgan Chase, and other banks, with the federal Department of Justice joining her case. The details are under seal, but in March, the government reached a partial settlement for $95 million. Szymoniak is entitled to $18 million. Nearly penniless from three years of full-time research, she's looking forward to the payday, although half will go to her lawyers and a portion will go to funding a summer camp for kids made homeless by foreclosure.
A landmark case now being considered by the Florida Supreme Court, meanwhile, could prevent banks from simply dropping a foreclosure suit once the defendant claims they've used fraudulent documents — a tactic that has allowed banks to escape scot-free on the rare occasions when fraud is taken seriously in court.
And attorneys general from 49 states (all except Oklahoma) filed suit against most of the major mortgage lenders and service providers. Those big firms were accused of submitting improper documentation to courts, making use of robo-signing, and other violations. The states announced they won a $25 billion settlement this year, and the companies agreed to some reforms. Part of the payout will be divided among affected homeowners, although attorneys doubt homeowners will receive as much as the banks and states have announced.
As for LPS, there are still several ongoing, open investigations against the company, including in Nevada and Florida.
Edwards and Clarkson aren't prosecutors anymore. But the two haven't left the issue behind. Among local foreclosure activists, they've become something like martyrs to the cause. Occupy protesters, for instance, have begun showing up at hearings the two hold on the problem, sometimes toting signs and banners.
Despite their experience in civil court, Clarkson and Edwards won't be suing the state for firing them. (Bondi released an 85-page report on their termination in January, finding they'd been fired for sloppy record keeping and improperly calling LPS's bad signatures "fraud.")
Instead, they're practicing law in Fort Lauderdale and waiting to see if anything ever comes out of their investigation into LPS, which Bondi claims was passed on to other investigators in the office.
"In case there is an ongoing investigation, I don't want to say anything to jeopardize it," Clarkson says, "because it's really important that it gets done."
ofcourse the government will protect lender/financial institution etc. they have the money to bankroll and finance the government averege citizens do not have the money to finance the gov, just to vote which means nothing if there is no money, this has always been like that it will be for another 100 years, there is nothing we can do, the one who has the money is the one who controles everyone
It is time for all Floridians to stop arguing over Democrat or Republican, since they are two sides of the same coin. Neither is looking out for our best interests. The only answer is to stop electing anyone who is connected with these parties. Stop re-electing anyone who has previously held an elected position. It is only when we start to show politicians that it is not money that will work to buy our votes that we will get the government and the governmental services that we deserve.
We live here. We elect our public officials. We allow them to continue to serve. We get the government we deserve. Florida institutionalizes low expectations. You can see it everywhere. Under-achievement is the order of the day in education, public services and commercial services as well as political office. By expecting too little from ourselves, we expect very little from others. The corruption of low expectations also infects Florida's judicial system. As we judge ourselves so we are judged. It will only change-if ever-when we change ourselves.
I concur Mike Another missed abortion candidate talking shit about 'new blood in politics' What's dipshit's excuse for bald-headed Scott?
Youreminence you are quite right - I am in Maryland and we have much of the same issues albeit not as flagrant as yours, i.e. PAM BONDI. That being said, yes we do 'vote' these awful people into office but as one of the work-a-day people trying like hell just to survive, keeping one step ahead of a bottom feeding foreclosure mill creep or creepet(I find it shocking that women would actually do such underhanded and undignified acts and call it a job) who masquerade as attorneys who bring fabricated and forged documents and affidavits into our court rooms- takes up a tremendous amount of energy and time. As a result our collective attention is drawn inwards, to ourselves, to our very survival. That's why shitbags like Pam Bondi and Rick Scott remain in office. We can only do so much. Most of us are just trying to keep our head above water. Understand?