The Miami Herald has done a good piece of investigative work into how lack of regulation allowed persons with criminal histories to enter the mortgage business as unlicensed "loan originators" in Florida.
". . . They perform the same job as mortgage brokers but aren't bound by the same rules," the Herald reports. "Time and again, industry leaders asked Florida regulators to bring this group under their watch by imposing mandatory licensing. But regulators refused to press for any changes, claiming that lawmakers would never approve."
The Herald's investigation found that from 2000 to 2007 "5,306 people with criminal histories became loan originators -- a rate of nearly two a day. Worse, those include 2,201 who had committed financial crimes, such as fraud, money laundering and grand theft."