August 25th, 2016 at 12:31pm
Former Gophers basketball star Sam Jacobson once owned a home in Apple Valley, Minnesota.
In 2011, Jacobson sold his home in a short sale to his then-girlfriend, Traci Quam. He was supposed to move out per the lender’s requirements that the sale be arm’s-length, but Quam admitted he did not, in an interview with the Minnesota Commerce Fraud Bureau.
Traci Quam resold the home four months later for $538,000 and pocketed $176,000 in profit. She then used the money to purchase another home in Apply Valley. According to the complaint filed again both of them, “The day she closed on the Cobblestone Lake home, July 20, 2012, Sam Jacobson proposed to her.”
Sam Jacobson and Traci Quam have each been charged with one count of theft by false representation and one count of theft by swindle.
Prosecutors: why wasn’t the listing agent charged?
Read the original article in KMSP-TV and the Minnesota Star Tribune.
August 11th, 2016 at 8:42pm
Michael Llamas, 31, of Tracy, and Peter Woodard, 48, of Ventura, pleaded guilty in federal court in Sacramento to conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Llamas separately pleaded guilty to a count of concealment of a felony.
Llamas owned LW Premier Holdings LLC and Woodard owned Cobalt One LLC. They had rights to buy homes at discounts from builders in several states but purchased homes at full price without disclosing this to the lenders.
Loomis Wealth Solutions convinced investors to buy homes using their credit, which would then be rented out and managed, with the investors getting regular payments. Owner Lee Loomis was arrested in 2012 and charged with multiple counts of mail fraud and wire fraud. After pleading guilty in January 2016, he asked the court to withdraw his plea.
There are numerous articles on Lee Loomis and Loomis Wealth Solutions on earlier postings on the California Real Estate Fraud Report.
August 11th, 2016 at 8:27pm
Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today announced that California has reached a $252,000 settlement with two privatized military housing contractors over the companies’ unlawful evictions of 18 military servicemembers and their families from private military housing complexes in San Diego and Orange Counties.
Attorney General Harris argued that these evictions violated the California Military and Veterans Code, the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, and other state debt collection laws which protect servicemembers who are sued while serving on active military duty and are therefore unable to appear and defend themselves in court. These laws prevent the entry of a default judgment unless a lawyer has been appointed to represent the interests of the absent servicemember, and they prohibit the use of false statements to collect a debt. In addition, the contractors allegedly violated California privacy laws by filing court documents that included unredacted Social Security numbers, birth dates, or other personal information of nearly 100 servicemembers and military family members.
Read the full press release on the website of the State of California Department of Justice Office of the Attorney General.
August 10th, 2016 at 2:07pm
Bryan D’Antonio, 50, is the last of three co-defendants to confess to a conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud in a telemarketing scheme that ran from October 2008 and June 2009 and defrauded over 1,500 people out of about $9 million, according to a statement from Eileen Decker, the U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California.
D’Antonio was described by authorities as the owner and operator of the Rodis Law Group, aka America’s Law Group. His fellow defendants Charles Wayne Farris and Ronald Rodis have already pleaded guilty to the same charge.
Prosecutors said Rodis Law Group and America’s Law Group found their victims by placing radio advertisements claiming to negotiate lower-interest rates or principal balances by using their team of attorneys, when only Ronald Rodis was an attorney.
Read the original article in the OC Register. There a number of articles about this case that can be found by searching the California Real Estate Fraud Report.
August 8th, 2016 at 10:39am
Nicholas Daniel Cardenas Vallez, 28, has been arrested for taking money from prospective renters for property he did not own.
Visalia police say that Vallez took rents and application fees from at least 11 victims. Detectives and the Tulare County District Attorney’s Office contacted both the victims and the real property owner to build their case against Vallez.
Read the original article in the Fresno Bee.
August 4th, 2016 at 9:08am
Real estate agent Alla Samchuk, 45, has been found guilty of six counts of bank fraud, six counts of making a false statement to a financial institution, one count of money laundering and one count of aggravated identity theft, according to a press release by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of California.
Court documents revealed that from 2006 through 2008 Samchuk operated a mortgage fraud scheme involving three properties in the Sacramento area, specifically Roseville and El Dorado HIlls. Unable to qualify for a loan to make the purchases herself, Samchuk employed the services of straw buyers to apply for the loans. She caused the submission of loan applications containing false representations of income, employment, assets, and a false indication that the straw buyers would occupy the homes as their primary residence.
A second objective of the scheme was to obtain HELOC (home equity line of credit) funds. According to evidence at trial, on two of the properties, Samchuk diverted or attempted to divert HELOC funds to her own benefit. Samchuk caused the HELOC loans to fund by submitting false statements and documents to the lender regarding the qualifications of the straw buyers.
Turning against her own straw buyers, Samchuk filed an application for a HELOC on one of the properties without the straw buyer’s knowledge or consent (HELOC fraud). To obtain the HELOC, she forged the signature of the straw buyer on a short form deed of trust that she caused to be notarized and recorded. The stated purpose of the HELOC was home improvement, but once the line of credit was funded, Samchuk quickly diverted all of the funds to her own use, spending the proceeds on a Lexus and the repayment of a substantial personal debt.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Audrey B. Hemesath and Andre M. Espinosa prosecuted the case.
July 29th, 2016 at 11:25am
Hank Kawecki and Helen Kawecki are about to be evicted from their home of 56 years.
Chadd Moore, their grandson, offered to “help” his grandparents two years ago when they needed a loan. He proposed they put their house in his name while he supported them financially for the rest of their lives.
Moore then mortgaged the property and defaulted on the almost $500,000 he took out on three loans. He purportedly spent all the money in Las Vegas.
Neighbor Doug Emerson has been helping the Kaweckis and has started a GoFundMe page to pay for legal fees to fight the eviction, which has been stayed for 60 days by a judge.
Read the original article in the New York Daily News.
July 29th, 2016 at 10:56am
Aria Maleki, 33 years old, a Santa Ana resident, has been sentenced to nine years in prison after pleading guilty in a Bridgeport, Connecticut federal court to a mortgage loan modification scheme that defrauded homeowners across the country.
Connecticut U.S. Attorney Deirdre Daly said that Maleki and other persons ran a series of California-based companies that promised home mortgage loan modifications and other debt relief services and charged them upfront fees ranging from approximately $2,500 to $4,300. Charging advance fees is illegal for these services in California.
Read the original article in MortgageOrb.
July 28th, 2016 at 5:33am
Aliso Viejo resident Charles Wayne Farris, 55, has pleaded guilty to federal fraud charges for his role as a sales manager in a mortgage modification fraud case that cost 1,500 people almost $9 million.
Farris’ co-conspirator, former attorney Ronald Rodis, had previously pleaded guilty to a felony conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud. A third defendant, Bryan D’Antonio, still awaits his turn at trial for nine counts of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
According to prosecutors, both Rodis Law Group and America’s Law Group used nationwide radio advertisements to portray themselves as a team of experienced attorneys that could negotiated lower-interests rates or principal balances.
“The defendants in this case preyed upon vulnerable homeowners facing the loss of their home and callously took advantage of what hope they had left,” said Deirdre L. Fike, assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office, in a statement last week.
Read the original article in the OC Register.
July 28th, 2016 at 5:19am
LOS ANGELES — A federal judge granted default judgment against two married recidivists in Los Angeles who ran half a dozen phony debt relief businesses, including mortgage rescue, and ordered them to disgorge $2.3 million and other frozen assets.
The Federal Trade Commission settled with Tobias West and Komal West and their companies in May. The July 12 order from U.S. District Judge Otis Wright also bars the Wests and their companies from “representing the benefits or performance of a product or service unless it is not misleading and based on evidence,” and prohibits them from “profiting from consumers’ personal information and failing to dispose of it properly.”
The Wests and their companies, including Good EBusiness, Student Loan Help Direct, Select Student Loan, Select Student Loan Help, and Select Document Preparation charged up to $5,000 a pop for bogus student and home loan relief services, the FTC said in its sealed complaint in February. It said the Komals violated federal laws by “preying on financially struggling consumers and promising to make their mortgage or student loan payments substantially lower by renegotiating with their lender — but without ever having any intention of actually doing so.” the FTC claimed.
If they did bother to do anything, the Wests and their companies often posed as their clients and entered into forbearance deals with lenders, without telling the clients they did so, or that they would be on the hook for interest payments that for many clients totaled thousands of dollars, according to the FTC.
Read the entire article in Courthouse News and the Federal Trade Commission.