Florida justices reject mortgage fraud penalty

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The Florida Supreme Court has rejected a homeowner's bid to penalize a lender accused of fraud in a mortgage foreclosure case.

The justices on Thursday unanimously ruled against Palm Beach County resident Roman Pino.

His lawyer had urged the justices to ban lenders from voluntarily dismissing foreclosure cases to avoid penalties for filing bogus documents.

The high court, though, affirmed an appellate ruling that judges cannot reinstate lawsuits after plaintiffs have voluntarily dismissed them.

Pino sought reinstatement of his case so the judge then could dismiss it with prejudice. That would have barred his lender, the Bank of New York Mellon, from re-filing it.

Foreclosure cases have been rife with such practices as "robo-signing" of documents by bank employees who often knew little or nothing about what they were signing.

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