So The Miami Herald (via curbed) did a little digging around in the public records down in Flo-Rida (as Florida shall here-to-fore be referred), and found some things which I'm sure will come as a complete and utter shock to all:
From 2000 to 2007, the OFR (Office of Financial Regulation) allowed at least 10,529 persons with criminal records to begin arranging and selling Florida mortgages. Of that motley throng, 4,065 somehow cleared background checks even though most had previously committed serious crimes -- including bank robbery, racketeering, extortion and fraud -- that by law should have kept them out of the mortgage business.
Nawwww, ya don't say! Well, the Herald does say, and, for serious, it actually gets worse!
Other crimes of ''moral turpitude'' found on the records of newly approved mortgage peddlers: assaults, dope deals, sex offenses and at least 15 homicides. As it turned out, some of those felons failed to become model citizens upon entering Florida's then-booming real estate market. They went on to commit at least $85 million in mortgage frauds, fleecing both lenders and borrowers, according to the newspaper's findings.
Anywhere else (well, besides Southern California maybe), reactions to such a ridiculous revelation probably range from disgust to horror, but no, not in our beloved Flo-rida.
Same for Richard Crowder of Miami Beach, one of 23 convicted burglars who successfully transitioned into the mortgage field. Eventually Crowder masterminded one of the state's worst frauds, setting up $37 million in bad loans by falsifying documents, lying on applications and staging phony property appraisals...the OFR might have been doing us a favor by not screening aspiring loan originators such as Ronald D. Collins. He was convicted 37 times between 1983 and 2000 of assorted low-rent money crimes, including forgery and grand theft. Yet had Collins been banned from the lucrative world of mortgages, he might have turned to more dangerous endeavors such as bank robbery or carjacking.
See, after you live in Florida long enough, you learn to look philosophically for the silver lining in every storm cloud.
I'm sure everyone who was duped by these career criminals feels all warm and tingly inside knowing that they did their small part to take a bite out of crime. If that's not a consolation prize, hell, I don't know what is.