TALLAHASSEE – LAWFUEL – The Law News Network – Attorney General Charlie Crist, Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Guy Tunnell and Miami-Dade County Inspector General Christopher Mazzella today announced the arrest of four individuals for their roles in two separate but related scams. One of the scams, a
fraud scheme involving surplus foreclosure funds, victimized at least 20
Florida homeowners, while the other victimized an elderly South Florida
homeowner through surplus foreclosure funds and mortgage fraud.
FDLE agents arrested attorney Terrence Rosenberg, Shannelle Brantley
and Leighton Brown, all of Miami, for their roles in the mortgage fraud and
surplus foreclosure funds scam. Authorities also arrested Manuel Rosado Jr.
of Miami in connection with the foreclosure surplus fraud scheme, in which
Rosenberg also participated. All the defendants will be prosecuted by the
Attorney General’s Office of Statewide Prosecution.
?Floridians should not have to worry about being targeted by con
artists trying to cheat them out to their hard-earned money,” said Crist.
“The arrest of these individuals is significant because this is not
the kind of criminal case that is made with any regularity,? said Tunnell.
?We hope that these arrests will send a message that this kind of
fraudulent activity is totally unacceptable and unlawful, and that cases
like this will be actively pursued and prosecuted.”
Authorities allege that the foreclosure funds scam was masterminded
by Rosado with attorney Rosenberg?s assistance. Rosado, 31, used records
from state courts in Miami-Dade and Hillsborough counties to locate surplus
foreclosure funds left over from homes auctioned to satisfy mortgages.
Rosenberg would then file court paperwork typically used to claim the funds
for the homeowners. However, Rosado would keep the funds for his personal
use instead of disbursing them to the appropriate homeowners. Rosenberg,
61, faces pending disbarment action before the Florida Supreme Court for
his participation in the scheme.
The second scam resulted in the eviction of an elderly victim from
her South Florida home. Investigators charge that Rosenberg and an
accomplice approached the 68-year-old victim after learning she had
recently lost her house due to foreclosure and persuaded her to pay them
her surplus foreclosure funds, supposedly taking a fee for their help in
locating a new house and using the remaining amount to purchase the house
on her behalf. Brantley, 26, assisted in the fraud by submitting fraudulent
mortgage documents that enabled the thieves to purchase a house, which they
quickly resold and kept the money for their personal use. The elderly
victim, who was living in the new house when it was resold, was evicted by
the new buyers. During the investigation that followed, Brown, 25,
allegedly contacted witnesses and urged them to lie to the police regarding
the fraudulent mortgage documents.
Inspector General Mazzella expressed his dismay at the proliferation
of crimes targeting homeowners. He said, “As the equity in homes increases
because of the boost in property values, residential dwellings become
attractive targets to criminal predators. The elaborate foreclosure and
mortgage scheme concocted by the defendants to bleed the equity out of the
victims’ homes is suggestive of a growing crime problem that is seriously
impacting homeowners nationally and in Miami-Dade County.”
Rosado and Rosenberg are charged with organized scheme to defraud and
second-degree grand theft. Brantley is charged with filing a false document
in a mortgage transaction and second-degree grand theft, while Brown is
charged with being an accessory after the fact.
If convicted of all charges, Rosado faces a maximum sentence of 45
years in prison, Rosenberg faces up to 30 years in prison, Brantley faces
up to 20 years in prison and Brown faces up to 5 years in prison.
A copy of the criminal information for Rosado is available at: