Consuegra law firm in Tampa to lay off 154 employees

Article Courtesy of The Tampa Bay Times

By Susan Taylor Martin    

Published October 5, 2015


 A Tampa law firm once under investigation for allegedly filing false and misleading mortgage documents is laying off 154 employees and closing its title company.

The law firm of Daniel C. Consuegra notified state officials of the layoffs Wednesday in a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification, or WARN, letter.

Consuegra Title, with 28 employees, will permanently shut down starting Nov. 30, the letter said, but the law firm will remain open. Neither firm returned calls for comment.

The Consuegra law firm was among the so-called "foreclosure mills" hired by banks to push through foreclosure cases after tens of thousands of Floridians defaulted on their loans in the wake of the real estate crash.

The Florida Attorney General's Office investigated the Consuegra firm and seven others on allegations they had submitted bogus or misleading documents to the court and used "robo-signers" to attest to the truth of documents they never read.

The firms denied wrongdoing, and the investigation ended after the Florida Supreme Court ruled that the state could not investigate law firms under the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act as the Attorney General's Office had tried to do. The Florida Bar maintained that it had sole authority to investigate alleged misconduct by individual attorneys.

The Bar could not immediately say whether any of Consuegra's lawyers had been disciplined in connection with the problematic mortgage documents.

A graduate of Stetson University College of Law, Daniel Consuegra was admitted to the Bar in 1983 and has had no disciplinary history for at least the past 10 years, Bar records show.

Consuegra's law office and title company both operate out of a building in east Tampa's Sabal Industrial Park that he bought for $2.1 million in 2012.