July 30, 1997


Image of today's outrage

Are you a close reader of The Outrage? Of course you are. So, you’ll remember when we began our contest on July 8th to find the worst-run city in America.

We began our contest by showcasing Miami, and now we return to America’s great international city as it attempts to cement its position as the place most rife with fraud and corruption. There’s lots of competition, but we think Miami is firmly in the lead.

Rising political star and Miami City Commissioner Humberto Hernandez has just been arrested as a part of a massive fraud investigation. Hernandez, and seven others, were charged with using phony documents and bogus checks as part of a complex and long-running real estate scheme to defraud banks of more than $8 million dollars. Another $4.5 million in fraudulent Medicare payments was laundered through the sham real estate deals.

After obtaining loans for much more than the condos were worth, the partners would usually default on the loans, leaving banks with collateral worth far less than the outstanding debt. Of course, American taxpayers would get stuck with the losses if any of these FDIC-insured banks actually fail as a result of the bad loans.

Suspicion was provoked when Hernandez purchased a posh condo for $860,000 just six months after being fired as a Miami assistant city attorney.

Hernandez plans to plead innocent, saying that he was just acting in the normal capacity of a real estate lawyer. He could have a point there, as fraud, forgery, and money laundering all seem to fall within the normal job descriptions of attorneys.

To understand how bad the situation in Miami is: Hernandez assumed his seat as a commissioner when former commissioner Miller Dawkins pleaded guilty to taking a bribe.


© Copyright 1996-98, The Outrage is produced by Athens New Media. All rights reserved.

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