One word changes paralegal to felon.

The word is “fraudulent” as in “Dubin served as the settlement agent for the vast majority of the fraudulent loans obtained in the course of the scheme. In that capacity, she organized closings, prepared documents, and disbursed the fraudulently obtained proceeds to various defendants.” PRNewswire.comreports on the paralegal’s sentencing: three years in prison, three years of supervised release, 3 years forfeiture of $7 million and payment of approximately $11.6 million in restitution.

Unlike other instances of paralegals involved in crime, this is not a case of a rogue paralegal harming clients and their employers through lack of attorney supervision. Dubin appears to have been just on member of a large conspiracy of the type that always amazes me. According to the report, “Of the 27 defendants charged in this case (United States v. Aleksander Lipkin, et al.), 25 pleaded guilty; one of the defendants, attorney Alexander Kaplan, 35, of Brooklyn, New York, was found guilty following a jury trial and is scheduled to be sentenced on April 6, 2010. ”

The amazement does not come from the number of defendants. It comes from the sheer display of greed on the part of the participants. These are all lawyers and others who are highly educated and likely to make significant amounts of money – more than most people will ever see – if they employ their skills and talents in an honest way. Instead they choose to feed their own greed without a thought for the hundreds of distressed homeowners who lost the titles to their homes and faced eviction. And apparently thought they would never get caught! They were not suffering from alcoholism or depression, and this was not a one-time slip. They were simply dishonest and greedy on a huge scale. And now they are convicted felons.

No profession is free from such “bad apples.” This scheme involved lawyers, a paralegal, loan processors, mortgage brokers, real estate appraisers, and loan account executives. Other schemes have involve doctors, accountants, chiropractors, etc. That, however, does not make other members of the profession feel any better about the stain on the profession or the harm done to the people the profession hopes to serve.

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