According to a report by Jay Weaver of the Miami Herald, a Federal Judge issued an arrest warrant for lawyer Michael Walsh for his failure to appear in Federal Court. Walsh failed to show up for the start of a Federal mortgage fraud trial for John Guaracino on Monday May 9, 2010. The Federal mortgage fraud trial is the second of two related mortgage fraud cases involving law enforcement officers, mortgage brokers, title processors and lawyers who were charged with conspiracy to defraud banks by falsifying mortgage loan applications. U.S. District Judge James Cohn issued a “Show Cause” order for Walsh to appear the following day to explain why Walsh should not be held in contempt. When he failed to show for the Show Cause hearing, Judge Cohn issued an arrest warrant for the attorney’s arrest. Prosecutors have accused Guaracino, a Plantation police officer, of recruiting other officers from the Plantation Police Department to join a conspiracy to defraud the banks.
The first trial in April ended with the acquittal of three officers according to the Ft. Lauderdale SunSentinel. Prosecutors tried to argue that the officers lied on loan applications to qualify for mortgage loans totaling $16 million, which they could not otherwise afford on their salaries. The defense claimed the lies were placed on the mortgage applications without their knowledge by unscrupulous mortgage brokers who handled the transactions. The brokers testified for the government under plea deals, admitting they forged signatures and submitted false information on applications they handled.
Guaracino’s trial will likely be postmarked as a result of his attorney’s failure to show for trial. Walsh’s problems also include a pending assault charge that arose from a dispute he had with his estranged wife. According to the Herald article, Walsh got into an argument with his wife over visitation rights and allegedly shoved her to the kitchen floor and dragged her by the hair to another room. A hearing on that case was scheduled for the same day he was supposed to be in Federal court. It is unknown as of this publishing whether Walsh has been found.