Florida Attorney Facing Felony Counts Connected to Foreclosure Fraud
First, Constantine “Chuck” Kalogianis was facing potential disbarment. Now, the well-known Pasco County, Fla., attorney and onetime congressional candidate is battling criminal charges for allegedly doctoring foreclosure documents.
Kalogianis, 53, was arrested over the weekend on nine felony counts: eight of them related to forgery and one count for a scheme to defraud.
State Attorney Bernie McCabe charged that Kalogianis had engaged in a “systematic, ongoing course of conduct with intent to defraud” multiple lenders between November of 2013 and March 16 of this year.
McCabe, who represents Pinellas and Pasco counties, launched the investigation after a lender’s accusations that Kalogianis was altering foreclosure case records to benefit homeowners he represented. Surveillance videos taken in a Pasco clerk’s office last year appear to show him stamping something on papers in two different cases.
An investigator with McCabe’s office said he found probable cause to believe Kalogianis forged or altered documents attached to mortgages on eight properties in Pasco County. Due to the forgery, he said, Kalogianis was able to convince the Sixth Judicial Court in those cases that the lender didn’t have standing for summary judgment. As a result, Kalogianis received more than $100,000 worth of fees as the prevailing attorney that he otherwise wouldn’t have received, McCabe’s office said.
Previous coverage: Second video surfaces showing Pasco lawyer altering official court records
Among the companies affected by the alleged fraud: Bank of America, Bayview Loan Servicing, BAC Home Loans Servicing, Wells Fargo, Deutsche Bank, HSBC Bank, Nationstar Mortgage, and American Home Mortgage Assets.
Earlier, Kalogianis denied any wrongdoing. He was released on $180,000 bail, court records show.
His attorney, Victor Martinez, said in a statement that banks have been guilty of fraudulent schemes, but those cases have been handled in civil court, not criminal.
“No one has ever gone to jail,” he said. “Now that allegations of fraud are directed at an attorney who represents a homeowner in a mortgage foreclosure case, the Pasco County State Attorney’s office proceeds with a criminal prosecution? This would appear to be a case of selective and vindictive prosecution.
Separately, a judge in August recommended Kalogianis face disbarment for at least five years after not paying back a $227,644 investment a 73-year-old client made to him in 2007.
Previous coverage: Pasco judge recommends five-year disbarment for Constantine Kalogianis
In his report, the judge lambasted Kalogianis as “completely self-serving,” “strategically evasive,” and “drenched in deceitful motive.”
By Jeff Harrington, Tampa Bay Times, St. Petersburg, Fla.
November 2, 2016