Florida AG Investigates 3 Fannie Mae Law Firms

Kimberly Miller, Palm Beach Post

The Florida attorney general’s office has confirmed the names of three law firms added to its foreclosure investigation, including Kahane & Associates, which handles hundreds of home repossessions in Palm Beach County.

The Plantation-based company, as well as the Tampa firms of Daniel C. Consuegra, and Albertelli Legal received letters of inquiry in December from the Economic Crimes Division of the attorney general’s office.

All of the firms are part of mortgage giant Fannie Mae’s retained attorney network in Florida. Consuegra was just added to the list in November following Fannie Mae’s decision to stop using the Law Offices of David J. Stern, which is also under investigation.

The Dec. 2 letter to the three firms says the attorney general has opened a preliminary investigation regarding complaints the state has received of “unfair, deceptive and unconscionable practices” in how defaulted mortgages have been handled.

Investigators give the firms 45 days to hand over all consumer complaints received in a two-year period beginning in April 2008, employee directions as to the handling of foreclosures, and correspondence regarding remedies taken to assure proper methods are being followed in filing foreclosures.

As of Tuesday, no responses from the firms had been received by the attorney general’s office.

The letters appear to be an extension of the original foreclosure investigation, which began with subpoenas sent over the summer to four large law firms including Shapiro & Fishman, which is based in Boca Raton, Stern’s office, the Law Offices of Marshall C. Watson in Fort Lauderdale and the Tampa-based Florida Default Law Group.

But the subpoenas received mixed results.

While a Broward County judge upheld the subpoena against Stern, a Palm Beach County judge said the attorney general had no power to investigate law firms under the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act. That ruling was made on an objection to the subpoena for Shapiro & Fishman.

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