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Nov 18, 2010

Florida’s BankAtlantic guilty of securities fraud

MIAMI (Reuters) – Executives at Florida-based lender BankAtlantic Bancorp Inc failed to alert investors about risks in its real estate loan portfolio as the U.S. housing market collapsed, a Miami jury ruled on Thursday in a rare securities fraud class action verdict.

The jury found BankAtlantic Bancorp officials misled shareholders on conference calls and failed to comply with proper lending procedures. The panel awarded $2.41 a share to investors who bought the company’s stock between April 26 and October 26, 2007.

Oct 20, 2010

Florida AG probes law firms in foreclosure mess

MIAMI (Reuters) – Some employees of Florida law firms hired by banks to handle foreclosures have testified that they were “making up documents” and “forging stuff,” the state’s attorney general said on Wednesday.

Attorney General Bill McCollum said a nationwide probe would likely check out the relation between these firms and mortgage lenders.

Oct 17, 2010

Foreclosure fiasco frustrates homeowners

DELRAY BEACH, Florida (Reuters) – Curtis Jones has fought for more than a year to keep his two-story townhouse in this beachside Florida city from being foreclosed.

Jones, a 49-year-old construction worker, feels like it is a one-sided fight.

“Nobody is willing to work with me. They just brush you off,” he said.

Oct 17, 2010

U.S. foreclosure fiasco frustrates homeowners

, Oct 17 (Reuters) – Curtis Jones has
fought for more than a year to keep his two-story townhouse in
this beachside Florida city from being foreclosed.

Jones, a 49-year-old construction worker, feels like it is
a one-sided fight.

“Nobody is willing to work with me. They just brush you
off,” he said.

Oct 8, 2010

Florida Ponzi schemer’s aide gets 10-year sentence

MIAMI, Oct 8 (Reuters) – An ex-aide of a Florida lawyer who
ran a $1.2 billion Ponzi scheme was sentenced to 10 years in
prison on Friday, the latest development in a high-profile case
that drew attention to investment fraud in the state.

Debra Villegas, former chief operating officer of a
now-defunct Fort Lauderdale law firm at the center of the case,
pleaded guilty to money laundering charges earlier this year.

Oct 6, 2010

Florida lawyer warns of deepening foreclosure mess

ROYAL PALM BEACH, Florida (Reuters) – A Florida lawyer at the forefront of legal challenges against foreclosure practices by mortgage lenders says the U.S. housing morass will drag on due to difficulty in determining who owns home loans.

Questions over practices in foreclosure procedures across the United States have forced at least three banks to temporarily halt their proceedings and prompted a growing chorus of calls by lawmakers and regulators for an industry-wide moratorium until problems are resolved.

Sep 29, 2010

Tropical Storm Nicole kills eight in Jamaica

MIAMI (Reuters) – Short-lived Tropical Storm Nicole triggered flash flooding that killed eight people in Jamaica and dumped heavy rain on Florida, Cuba, the Cayman Islands and the Bahamas on Wednesday.

The broad and ragged storm formed on Wednesday morning and dissipated Wednesday afternoon, and U.S. and Cuban meteorologists disagreed on whether it ever actually was a tropical storm at all.

Sep 29, 2010

Tropical Storm Nicole threatens Cuba, Bahamas

MIAMI (Reuters) – Tropical Storm Nicole formed in the northwest Caribbean Sea on Wednesday and could bring flooding rain to southern Florida, Cuba, the Cayman Islands, Jamaica and the Bahamas, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.

Nicole was centered 120 miles east-southeast of Havana, Cuba and was moving northeast with top sustained winds near 40 mph.

Sep 20, 2010

World Bank says new Haiti textile park planned

MIAMI, Sept 20 (Reuters) – The World Bank’s development
financing arm and the governments of Haiti and the United
States signed an agreement on Monday with South Korean clothing
producer Sae-A to develop an industrial park and garment
manufacturing operation in Haiti.

The planned project will be one of the biggest new
manufacturing initiatives in Haiti following a Jan. 12
earthquake that killed up to 300,000 people and dealt a heavy
blow to the economy of the poor Caribbean country.

Sep 8, 2010

Florida pastor says going ahead with Koran burning

MIAMI (Reuters) – An obscure Christian pastor whose plan to burn copies of the Koran on September 11 has sparked an international outcry said on Wednesday he will still go ahead with the event despite U.S. official warnings it will endanger American troops in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Pastor Terry Jones, leader of a tiny, little-known Protestant church in Gainesville, Florida, which openly campaigns against what it calls “radical Islam,” is facing a barrage of calls from U.S. government, military and religious leaders, and from abroad, to cancel his plans to publicly burn Islam’s holy book.