California Real Estate Fraud Report

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13
Jul

Is e-Discovery a Violation of the 5th Amendment in Mortgage Fraud Case?

In a case that could have far-reaching effects, attorneys for a woman charged with a mortgage fraud case in Colorado, as well as the Electronic Frontier Foundation, are fighting a demand from the U.S. Department of Justice that would force her to turn over the password to her laptop.

In an amicus brief filed with the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado, the Electronic Frontier Foundation  (EFF) claims that requiring Ramona Fricosu, a defendant in a real estate fraud prosecution, to provide her encryption codes or passwords would be a violation by the government against the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the right against self-incrimination.

If the reasoning of the EFF is upheld, any defendant charged with a crime could oppose a search of his or her encrypted or password-protected computer on constitutional grounds. This includes defendants charged with murder, possession and/or distribution of child pornography, drug possession, money laundering, embezzlement and white-collar crimes.

As a recent example, the search of Casey Anthony’s computer, in which forensic computer examiners found searches for the term “chloroform” and other terms related to death and killing, would never have been performed. Casey Anthony was charged with killing her 2-year old daughter Caylee Anthony but was acquitted by a Florida jury this July.

Ramona Fricosu has been charged with 22 counts of bank fraud, four counts of wire fraud, five counts of making false statements to a financial institution, and seven counts of money laundering in an attempt to take title to foreclosed homes (title fraud).

Read more about this case in DigitalTrends.

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The information and notices contained on The California Real Estate Fraud Report are intended to summarize recent developments in real estate fraud, mortgage fraud, short sale fraud, REO fraud, appraisal fraud, loan modification scams, loan modification fraud and other real estate related crimes occurring in Los Angeles and California. The posts on this site are presented as general research and information and are expressly not intended, and should not be regarded, as legal advice. Much of the information on this site concerns allegations made in civil lawsuits and in criminal indictments. All persons are presumed innocent until convicted of a crime. Readers who have particular questions about real estate fraud, mortgage fraud and appraisal fraud matters or who believe they require legal counsel should seek the advice of an attorney.

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