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Martin County Fla--Firefighter Charged in Real Estate SCAM!

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  • Martin County Fla--Firefighter Charged in Real Estate SCAM!


    Martin County firefighter latest charged in lot sales investigation
    By Gabriel Margasak staff writer
    June 5, 2003

    STUART — State authorities this week charged a Martin County firefighter who is also a notary public with signing off on a property deed without witnessing the signatures — which belonged to two dead people.

    The felony arrest of Moetahar "Moe" Padellan, 59, a Martin County firefighter since 1989, was the latest in a Florida Department of Law Enforcement probe into fraudulent sales of vacant lots in Port St. Lucie.

    FDLE Special Agent Mark Mitchell, who headed the case, said Padellan was a "lower-level player," and he didn't think Padellan knew of the broader scheme of which he was allegedly a part.

    In April, the FDLE charged Port St. Lucie resident Bruce Rosenberg, 36, with spearheading a scheme to use the forged signatures of dead people — and a few from the living — to fraudulently obtain the deeds to eight vacant Port St. Lucie lots worth a total of almost $73,000.

    Rosenberg used several notary publics to notarize documents without all parties present.

    The notaries included his sister-in-law from Hollywood, Fla., and Padellan, whom he met through a mutual acquaintance, the agent said.

    Rosenberg, his wife, Becky Bowen-Rosenberg, and sister-in-law, Ruth Bowen, 40, have also been arrested and charged with fraud in the scheme.

    Both husband and wife were being held Wednesday at the St. Lucie County jail on $105,000, and $200,000 bails respectively, while awaiting trial.

    Padellan was released from the county jail on his own recognizance Monday, the day of his arrest.

    On Wednesday, Mitchell said Padellan knew he was doing something illegal when he notarized a deed for Rosenberg without the sellers present, which is required by law.

    Padellan stated Rosenberg asked him twice in late 2002 to notarize warranty deeds without the seller being present, court records show.

    Padellan stated that Rosenberg assured Padellan that all signatures were authentic, and that Rosenberg paid Padellan $50for the notarizations, records show.

    Rosenberg sold the property for $12,000.

    Padellan, who could not be reached for comment at home or through a co-worker, will remain on duty with fire rescue officials monitoring the outcome of the charge.

    "As long as it's not affecting his current duties, we're going to keep him on shift and monitor what occurs," said Fire Rescue Chief Tom Billington.

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    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

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