Miami mortgage fraud has now struck the religious ranks. A Broward County couple were found guilty in federal court for charges relating to a Miami mortgage fraud scheme and racketeering. Garry and Yvonne Souffrant were alleged to have defrauded banks and committed money laundering for individuals involved in cocaine trafficking. The indictment alleged that couple used proceeds from cocaine trafficking and marijuana trafficking to purchase real estate in the Miami and South Florida area.
Federal authorities claimed that Garry portrayed himself as a pastor at "God First Ministries" in Miami Gardens. Other than being a pastor, he and his wife also operated a family real estate business used in part to purchase homes and automobiles for cocaine trafficking rings throughout South Florida. Both defendants were represented at their trial in federal court by Miami criminal attorneys. The conviction opens the couple up to 5 to 30 years in prison.
Tried along with the defendants was Garry's brother, Gamaliel Souffrant. Unlike his brother and sister-in-law, he was found not guilty by a jury of his peers. At trial, the evidence revealed that the defendants acted as straw buyers or arranged for straw buyers to purchase homes and expensive automobiles while covering up the source of the drug related money. Million of dollars was alleged to have be laundered through the scheme to defraud.
The Miami federal court criminal docket is replete with cocaine trafficking, money laundering and mortgage fraud cases. Due to the magnitude of the problem, federal law enforcement agencies have established specialized task forces to arrest and prosecute those involved with the above listed crimes. Federal court district judges are handing down severe punishments in accordance with the Federal Sentencing Guidelines to those convicted of any of the aforementioned offenses.
Due to the serious consequences of being charged by a United States Attorney's Office and indicted for the charges discussed above, it imperative to hire a federal criminal lawyer with years of experience in that venue to represent your interests. Legal counsel who practice solely in state court do not have an understanding of the intricacies that occur in federal court. Always investigate the background of an criminal defense attorney you may hire to make sure you have the right person for the job.
Davie Couple Found Guilty of Mortgage Fraud, South Florida Business Journal, November 23, 2009.