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Meanwhile, in Florida

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The melting Florida housing market just took another 10,000 black eyes, because that's the number of convicted criminals who have been permitted to work within the state's mortgage industry during the boom. Carl Hiaasen sees it as a rehabilitation program: "Take Donald Lewis Smith, for example. In 2003 he was licensed to sell mortgages in Kissimmee despite lying about his criminal record -- a 17-year sentence for strangling his wife and dumping her body into Tampa Bay. It should be noted, however, that in five years as a broker, Smith hasn't murdered a single customer." [Miami Herald]