Double Standard Exposed As FDLE Gives Special Agent A Free Pass For Committing Mortgage Fraud
During an investigation into allegations of mortgage fraud by a FDLE Agent, it was found that Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) Special Special Agent Kathy Smith lied on her mortgage application to refinance a $461,500 loan on her home. Part of the closing package was an affidavit that required FDLE Agent Smith to state her marital status. FDLE Agent Smith signed the affidavit stating her and her ex-husband, former Police Captain Scott Smith of the Key West Police who divorced four months earlier were still married.
The mortgage fraud allegation was made to FDLE in November of 2014 when local news began reporting she had signed the document stating FDLE Special Agent Smith was married when she was not.
FDLE Special Agent Supervisor Carol Frederick told investigators she contacted FDLE Agent Smith about the allegations she learned from the FDLE’s operations and management consultant Samantha Andrews.
FDLE Inspector Keith Riddick in the nine-page report dated July 13, “Smith told Frederick that she believed the allegation was that she had profited financially from the mortgage and explained to Frederick how that was not true.”
FDLE Agent Smith told investigators she had no ill intent and hadn’t read the marriage affidavit before signing it.
During an interview with FDLE at their Sugarloaf Key field office, claimed, “I had been signing that document previous times before and I signed where they told me to sign,”
Investigators wrote in their report, “She apologized for not having read the documents and not being more careful in the matter.”
The agency cleared Special Agent Smith of two allegations related to her signing a marriage affidavit four months after she had divorced, finding her only in violation of bringing unwanted attention to FDLE by landing in the local press.
FDLE Inspector Keith Riddick wrote in the nine-page report dated July 13, “There is insufficient evidence to prove that Smith knowingly intended to make a false statement that would be relied upon by the mortgage lender as part of the determination of whether or not she would receive the loan.”
Commissioner Richard Swearingen wrote in the FDLE’s final disposition the agency released last week,“ You failed to exercise good judgment and avoid even the appearance of impropriety when you signed your name to documents that contained inaccurate information.”
Swearingen added, “Numerous news articles were written about you and your conduct related to that transaction. Specifically, the news articles identified you as an agent with FDLE and alleged that you committed perjury by signing documents claiming to be married when in fact you were not married.”
FDLE’s internal investigation stated that Smith’s “negligent actions, lack of good judgement and her admitted carelessness by not reading the documents in question … caused discredit to be bought upon FDLE,”
State Attorney Catherine Vogel’s office reviewed the allegation but said even if something criminal did occur, the statute of limitations on perjury and mortgage fraud had passed.
FDLE did give Special Agent Smith
Smith, who had been on paid leave since November pending the outcome of the internal review, received a five-day unpaid suspension in August for breaking the agency’s code of conduct. She returned to work after the Aug. 10-14 unpaid suspension.