Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Attorney Forges Judges’ Signatures Over 100 Times. Earns Jail, Sick Burn

It’s been about a year and a half since we last checked in on Jose Camacho, a Florida lawyer charged with forging the signatures of seven different judges on over 100 documents. Yesterday, he was sentenced to 364 days in jail, 10 years of probation, and a comical tongue-lashing from the court.

Ultimately Camacho forged signatures on 114 documents — structured settlements factoring transactions for his clients — and filed them with the Broward County clerk. Broward has since put a stop to allowing attorneys to file documents supposedly coming from the judges, a policy fix so obvious it’s shocking it wasn’t long in place. (UPDATE: Originally this article described these documents as setting up structured settlements, but it’s a little different than that. The National Structured Settlement Trade Association points out that the documents at issue set up factoring transactions that allowed settlement purchasers to offer discounted cash payments in exchange for the rights to future settlement payments. This supercharges the potential for abuse here because, while judges most often approve these deals, they should be scrutinizing them due to the risk of disadvantaging victims.)

It remains one of the most baffling cases of professional misconduct we’ve covered at Above the Law for the simple reason that Camacho seemingly garnered no advantage at all from his actions. The settlements would’ve earned a rubber stamp had he submitted them to the court. He just… didn’t.
“He was lazy,” she testified. “He was purely lazy.”
That’s Judge Marina Garcia-Wood, one of the Broward judges who uncovered the scheme, testifying at Camacho’s sentencing this week.

Meanwhile, Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Ellen Sue Venzer, who presided over the case because, quite frankly, how could you trust the Broward courthouse after realizing they let this go on, offered a time-worn burn while she sentenced Camacho:
“In today’s environment, lawyer jokes are abundant. You’ve heard the one about what’s 1,000 lawyers at the bottom of the sea? A good start,” Venzer said. “You only only reinforce that stereotype, but you buttress the idea that lawyers can’t be trusted.”
It’s bad enough to be heading to jail, but to sit through a lawyer joke too? It’s not even one of the good lawyer jokes either! That’s what makes it such a harsh rebuke — Judge Venzer didn’t even find Camacho worth crafting a good joke for. She just threw out a lazy quip that’s been copied a hundred times.

Oh. That’s some postmodern trolling, right there.

Full Article & Source:
Attorney Forges Judges’ Signatures Over 100 Times. Earns Jail, Sick Burn

1 comment:

Barbara said...

I don't understand why how this attorney thought he'd get by with this?