New Petition No. SC14-1637, Florida Supreme Court
The Smiling Faces of Evil
Request Senate Hearing, Nominee Arthur Lee Bentley
The Office of Inspector General has reviewed your most recent series of complaints forwarded to the OIG Hotline for review and have determined that the issues you have raised do not fall within the purview of the Department of State.
The OIG Hotline will take no further action regarding this complaint.A paper copy of Mr. Fitzgibbons’ email is enclosed. The Hon. Steve A. Linick, Inspector General, OIG Office of Investigations, did not return my call. John M. Fitzgibbons, Esq. Chairman, Florida Federal JNC did not respond to a conflict check, copy enclosed.
Yesterday the Consumer Finical Protection Bureau (CFPB) notified me that Gina Alonso, Constituent Services Representative, Office of United States Senator Marco Rubio, opened CFPB Case number: 140304-000750 on information I submitted February 24, 2014. The CFPB email states, "We received your submission from the Congress and will review it as soon as possible to determine if it involves a Federal consumer financial law within our authority."Referral to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
A new federal agency filed a lawsuit Tuesday against two New York City area law firms and an attorney who owns a related business. It contends that they charged illegal advance fees for so-called debt-relief services that provided little or no benefit to consumers, who routinely lost amounts ranging from $1,300 to $3,000.
In addition to the advance-fee allegations against Mission Settlement Agency; its attorney-owner Michael Levitis and his law office; Premier Consulting Group; and the Law Office of Michael Lupolover, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau also alleges that Mission and Levitis violated the Consumer Financial Protection Act by using unfair and deceptive marketing practices, the Blog of Legal Times reports.
Among other issues, the civil complaint (PDF) filed in federal court in Manhattan by the CFPB says the Mission defendants violated federal law by misrepresenting to consumers the fees that would be charged and the benefits that would be provided concerning the debt-relief services they marketed.
Separately, the U.S. Department of Justice unsealed an indictment that includes criminal charges against Mission Settlement Agency, Levitis, and three current or former employees, according to the Hill's RegWatch page. It was the first criminal case ever brought based on a referral by the CFPB, the article says.
The indictment (PDF) accuses the criminal defendants of participating in a mail and wire fraud conspiracy that bilked consumers out of millions of dollars.
As part of the criminal case, the DOJ is seeking to seize the Rasputin Supper Club in Brooklyn, which is owned by Levitis, the New York Daily News reports. Federal prosecutors say he used money from the debt-relief operation to fund the glitzy Brighton Beach club, lease two upscale vehicles and pay his mother's credit-card bills.
A press release from the Manhattan U.S. Attorney's office provides further details.
"These wolves in sheep’s clothing take money from consumers who are already struggling to pay their bills, falsely promising them help while really making their problems worse," CFPB director Richard Cordray said said in a written statement provided to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Attorney Jeffrey Lichtman represents Levitis and tells the BLT that his client has been cooperating the government. He said Levitis has been trying to meet with prosecutors to provide evidence about the "rogue former employees who committed many of the frauds alleged in the indictment" before exiting to open their own debt-relief business. "Now Michael Levitis is left to clean up the mess," Lichtman said.
In an email to the BLT, Lupolover said the CFPB suit "has nothing to do with the law offices of Michael Lupolover."The following documents are enclosed for the above ABA story:
A final judgment entered January 24, 2014 in Rory Hewitt vs. Law Offices of David J. Stern bears on this petition, the "unknown spouse" issue.Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act - FDUTPA
The Florida Supreme Court disbarred David J. Stern January 7, 2014 with a sweetheart deal:David J. Stern Disbarred, Florida Supreme Court Case SC13-643
Penalty: 49 cents per 100,000 abandoned foreclosure cases
which The Florida Bar’s Referee Nancy Perez wrote "created chaos on the courts of the state of Florida, prejudicing the whole system as a whole." (page 4, Report of Referee SC13-643).49 cents per 100,000 abandoned foreclosure cases,
Stern notified Pinellas-Pasco Chief Judge Thomas McGrady and his counterparts throughout the state in letters sent earlier this month that he won't be able to do any further work on some 100,000 foreclosure cases, due to of a lack of staff following massive layoffs, according to the article.
"We have been forced to drastically reduce our attorney and paralegal staff to the point where we no longer have the financial or personnel resources to continue to file motions to withdraw in the tens of thousand of cases that we still remain as counsel of record,'' he wrote in a 251-page letter to McGrady dated March 4 that listed all of the Pinellas-Pasco cases. "Therefore it is with great regret that we will be ceasing the servicing of clients," apparently by the end of the month.
Calling the situation "a mess,'' McGrady says court employees are working to put together orders requiring the lending institutions that brought the cases to show cause why they should not be dismissed. Meanwhile, some attorneys reportedly may be seeking to take over the cases without a paper trail clearly authorizing them to do so.
But, Chief Judge Manuel Menendez Jr. of Hillsborough tells the Times, "you can't just walk away. I think he's written the letter in attempt to circumvent the rules of judicial administration."ABA Journal Law News Now, March 8, 2011, by Martha Neil, "Foreclosure Firm Collapse Creates Court Chaos; Stern Lacks Staff to Move to Withdraw from Cases"
The biggest outrage about this episode is the lack of outrage from the rest of the Bar. The Florida Bar has been silent. The state and federal regulators have done nothing to marshal assets that should be used to help satisfy the administrative obligations of unraveling this mess that have been dumped in our court’s lap. Our courts have been turned into a burlesque show and this is a horrendous black eye over the entire profession. The general public, quite correctly, views this as lawyers protecting themselves by not going after this national travesty. We are all guilty of shame in this debacle.Unfortunately foreclosure mills are not held accountable in any meaningful way in Florida. The Florida Supreme Court disbarred David J. Stern but did impose any meaningful discipline, no fine or penalty, only judgment entered for The Florida Bar "for recovery of costs from David James Stern in the amount of $49,125.02". As divided by the 100,000 foreclosure cases Mr. Stern abandoned, that amounts to 49 cents per case.
The saga of Florida foreclosure king David J. Stern offered a bit of everything. Bogus paperwork filed by Stern’s team of lawyers. A dizzying caseload of 1,600 foreclosures per attorney. Callow lawyers too swamped to show up in court and befuddled when they did.
His firm visited "massive injury" on Florida’s foreclosure system, a judge wrote yesterday in recommending that Stern be disbarred.
And like any good South Florida scandal, Stern’s rise and fall included a publicly traded company that paid him handsomely. In 2010, Stern collected a big payday by selling his back-office document preparation services to Chardan 2008 China Acquisition Corp., a British Virgin Islands shell company formed in 2008 with a $55 million IPO.
Stern’s payday was rich. In exchange for turning over a company that had collected $260 million in fees in 2009, Stern received $58.5 million in cash. He also got a promissory note worth $52.5 million and the promise of another $35 million in cash, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing by the renamed company, DJSP Enterprises.
As two DJSP investors described the deal in a federal suit last year, "In substance, Stern was selling a 75-80% interest in his non-legal-services businesses to the prior Chardan shareholders for $145 million."
After briefly hitting $13.50, DJSP shares plummeted. But Stern’s personal real estate empire remains intact. According to property recrods, Stern in 2008 paid $17 million for two homes in Hillsboro Beach and in 2009 paid $8 million for a house in Fort Lauderdale and $6.9 million for a condo in Fort Lauderdale.
His shell company payday was noted by Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Nancy Perez, who presided over his disbarment hearing. She wrote:
Enclosed is my response to The Florida Bar in the following [UPL link] matters:Mr. Stern’s letter of abandonment states that he did not have the financial resources to properly withdraw from his pending cases. Mr. Stern’s declaration revealed his net worth and that he did in fact possess sufficient resources to properly withdraw from cases. I am not persuaded by his argument that his reference to lack of financial resources related to the firm’s net worth only. … His statement was a misrepresentation.
RE: Petition No. 13-7280, documents do not appear on the Court’s computer system. Referral by Senator Rubio’s office to the CFPB; intervening circumstances of a substantial or controlling effect and other substantial grounds not previously presented....Email Ethan Torrey, Legal Counsel, Supreme Court of the United States
My email March 6, 2014 to you and Mr. Jeffrey Minear, Counselor to the Chief Justice, was returned for e-mail addresses not found. I am resending the email today to you at the email address shown on your Alumni page of the University of Pennsylvania. I am also a Penn Alumni, the Wharton School, Evening Division, December 1988, ABA. http://www.nosue.org/my-vision/FBI letter by Brian J. Nadeau with referral to Tampa FBI Field Office
The primary function of FBI Headquarters is the administration of program management, policy formulation, training and other administrative duties. The review of complaint letters involving potential public corruption and related allegations is the responsibility of the appropriate FBI field office.
Accordingly, the PCU has forwarded your complaint information to the appropriate local FBI Field Office. Should you wish to provide any additional information related to this matter, please furnish the specific details directly to the below address.Letter to Paul Wysopal FBI Tampa Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation
Today at 6:20 PM I received a telephone call from 813-253-1000 from a man who identified himself as the Tampa FBI. The caller did not provide his name. The caller asked to speak with Neil Gillespie, that’s me. The caller asked "is this call being recorded" and I said yes. The caller was responding to the Telephone Recording Announcer informing him all calls are recorded for quality assurance purposes. The caller said it is against Florida law to record someone without the consent of both parties. I replied that the caller provided consent if he continued to talk. The caller responded "have a nice day, sir" and hung up. That’s okay, the telephone is not compatible with certain disabilities of mine. I prefer email or written communication....Letter to U.S. Marshal William B. Berger, Sr., Sam M. Gibbons U.S. Courthouse
Dear U.S. Marshal William B. Berger, Sr.:Letter to Supreme Court Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., March 5, 2014
Thank you for your phone call Thursday January 30, 2014. I share your frustration with this matter, which is a state-wide problem of The Florida Bar usurping the Article III judicial power of the United States....
|Florida Judge Cynthia Imperato, Florida Judge Gisele Pollack, and Florida Judge Lynn Feig-Rosenthal (l-r)|
|Florida Judge Lynn D. Feig-Rosenthal under arrest, in cuffs|
|Fla. Judge Cynthia Imperato|
|Fla. Judge David Audlin|
|Florida Judge Gisele Pollack|
|Florida Judge Tracy Sheehan|
|Florida Judge Tegan Slaton|
|Danielle Nicole Parsons|