Sunday, March 4, 2012

Court To Defendant Facing Prosecution In Scam Targeting Homeowners Facing Foreclosure: 'Turn Over The Computer Password'

In Denver, Colorado, The Associated Press reports:

  • A federal appeals court in Denver refuses to get involved in a mortgage and real estate fraud case that raises questions about whether turning over a computer password amounts to self-incrimination.

  • In a ruling issued Tuesday, the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said it lacks jurisdiction because the case has not been resolved in a lower court.

  • That leaves Ramona Fricosu, of Colorado Springs, obligated to follow a judge's order to turn over an unencrypted version her hard drive that requires a password for investigators to examine documents. Her attorney and civil rights groups said it would violate the Fifth Amendment.


  • Fricosu and her husband, Scott Whatcott, are accused of targeting distressed homeowners in the Colorado Springs area, about 65 miles south of Denver.

  • Prosecutors allege the two promised to pay off the homeowner's mortgage, but then filed fraudulent documents in court to obtain title and sell the homes, without paying the outstanding mortgage.

For the story, see Colorado Woman Must Turn Over Computer Password.

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