Mike Hatami: Prosecutors' enemy
Mike Hatami of the Straw Buyer.
Blog: The Straw Buyer
Alias: Manny Getzner
Primary specialty: Criticizing high-profile mortgage fraud cases
Secondary specialty: Busting Miami Herald reporter Chuck Rabin for stealing his scoops
Last job: Owns and operates Mirage Yachts, a recreational boat maker and private marina on the Miami River
Net worth: "I'd rather not disclose it." According to Miami-Dade property records, Hatami and his wife own a three-bedroom house in Coral Gables they purchased in 2005 for $1.6 million. The same year, he also purchased a one-bedroom condo near Dadeland Mall for $275,000.
Criminal record: On February 29, 2000, Hatami was arrested on felony charges of grand theft and organized scheme to defraud. Although he pleaded guilty and entered a pretrial intervention program, he appealed the ruling and won. In 2008, prosecutors declined to refile the charges against him. "It was a bullshit case," Hatami says.
Four years later, Hatami was busted for allegedly vehicle title fraud, but prosecutors dropped that case too. In 2006, he was cited for speeding through a manatee zone.
Blog history: On October 3, 2008, ten months after his wife Delaila Estefano was arrested for grand theft, organized scheme to defraud, and identity theft, Hatami launched his blog. The idea: undermine the case against his spouse. Hatami zeroed in on the two men responsible for arresting Delaila, Miami-Dade Police Det. Jorge Baluja and assistant state attorney William Kostrzewski. Hatami even mocked Baluja in an August 11, 2009 post showing how the detective had improperly filled out a mortgage application. The blogger included a Google maps image of the detective's house in Southwest Miami-Dade. Six months later, the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office subpoenaed Hatami's internet service provider in an attempt to find out his identity. Since prosecutors dropped the charges against Delaila in 2010, Hatami has been scooping local media outlets on major fraud stories. Last February 21, he was the first to report former Miami assistant fire chief Veldora Arthur had been indicted in a $100 million mortgage fraud scam.
Why he's No. 3: Though he began blogging to get rid of a problem that hit close to home, Hatami has since gone international. On October 27, 2009, he began writing about Sally Sawh, an attorney of Trinidadian descent who was arrested and lost her license to practice law in Florida after she was accused of stealing more than $2 million from her clients. Two years later, Hatami was contacted by an investigative reporter from the Caribbean Communications Network seeking his assistance for an exposé about Sawh, who had turned up in her native country to run another scam.
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