California Real Estate Fraud Report

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Monterey County District Attorney’s Office Seeking Victims in Real Estate Fraud Case

April 21st, 2017 at 8:40am

The Monterey County District Attorney’s Office has indicted two men it is accusing of charging people upfront fees for non-existent loans in Salinas.

The allegations are that Jose Tomas-Silva and Mark Gallegos marketed real estate brokerage services that required the prospective clients to pay advance fees for residential properties that were not for sale

Read the original article in The Californian.

Brea Man Sentenced by Federal Judge to Long Prison Time for Multi-Million Dollar Mortgage Modification Scam

April 14th, 2017 at 9:41am

Despite the pleas of high-powered defense attorney Manny Medrano for an 18-month sentence, Bryan D’Antonio was sentenced to over eight years in prison for a operating a mortgage modification scam.

In imposing the sentence, U.S. District Judge David O. Carter ordered D’Antonio to not only serve 97 months in prison, but also 12 months in a halfway house, three years of supervised probation and to restitution of $3.8 million. Judge Carter noted that D’Antonio was still on supervised release after a four-year conviction for a previous medical-billing scheme.

Bryan D’Antonio was the owner and operator of Rodis Law Group and agreed last year to plead guilty to defrauding more than 1,500 people out of $9 million.

Although D’Antonio apologized to the court, Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph McNally characterized Rodis Law Group as a boiler room, telemarketer operation that lured desperate homeowners by advertising a non-existent team of attorney who would help the homeowners renegotiate their interest rates and principal balances.

Co-defendants Charles Wayne Farris of Aliso Viejo and Ronald Rodis of Irvine have, like D’Antonio, pleaded guilty to felony conspiracy to commit mail and wire-fraud charges and have yet to be sentenced.

Read the original article in the Orange County Register.

Husband And Wife Convicted in Fraudulent Short Sale of Property Later Sold to Sacred Heart Academy

April 6th, 2017 at 1:58pm

On March 30, Joseph Atias and Sofia Atias were convicted of bank fraud, conspiracy to commit bank fraud and Medicaid fraud by a jury in federal court in Central Islip, New York.

According to a press release by the U.S. Attorney for Eastern District of New York,

The fraud was designed to, and did, defraud Bank of America of over half a million dollars.  The defendants face penalties of up to 35 years’ imprisonment, the forfeiture of $560,000, and restitution of over $700,000.  After the verdicts, Joseph Atias was remanded to custody pending sentencing by United States District Judge Denis R. Hurley.

The convictions were announced by Bridget M. Rohde, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and William F. Sweeney, Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office.

“Through a web of lies and false documentation, these defendants stole more than half a million dollars from Bank of America and from Medicaid, which they used to line their own pockets,” stated Acting United States Attorney Rohde.  “The fine work of the FBI to bring these defendants to account for these crimes sends a clear message to anyone who contemplates engaging in mortgage fraud or Medicaid fraud: Do not even attempt it, because you will be caught and held responsible.”  Ms. Rohde extended her grateful appreciation to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the agency responsible for leading the government’s investigation.

The defendants were convicted of bank fraud and conspiracy to commit bank fraud in connection with the sale of property adjacent to Sacred Heart Academy for $925,000, after the defendants had sold the property in a short sale for $480,000 to discharge their mortgage debt.  In the short sale process, the defendants and a co-conspirator, an attorney who pleaded guilty and testified against the defendants at trial, concealed the offer from Sacred Heart Academy from the Bank of America.  In the short sale process, the defendants submitted a fraudulent contract of sale and other documents with false statements to Bank of America, and obtained approval of a short sale, wherein the proceeds from the sale of the property were less than the total amount of the mortgages on the property.  The defendants submitted these documents to Bank of America, falsely representing that there were no funds to pay the mortgages when, in fact, the defendants knew that Sacred Heart Academy, a high school in Hempstead, New York, had offered to buy the property for an amount sufficient to cover the mortgages on the property.  To accomplish the fraudulent short sale scheme, the defendants used a relative as a straw buyer of the property to create the appearance of an arms-length sale.  Shortly after that sale, the defendant’s straw buyer sold the property to Sacred Heart Academy for approximately half a million dollars in profit.

Nipomo Woman Sentenced to Prison for Defrauding Senior Citizen in Reverse Mortgage Scam

April 6th, 2017 at 1:46pm

San Luis Obispo District Attorney Dan Dow announced that a Nipomo woman who scammed an elderly man out of $117,000 by conning him into taking out a reverse mortgage on his property, has been sentenced to one year in jail.

Araceli Cortes, 38, pleaded no contest to one count of felony grand theft with an enhancement for stealing more than $100,000. Her victim was a 74-year-old man who had financially backed her business.

In addition to serving her sentence, Cortes received four years of probation and must pay restitution.

Read the original article in CalCoastNews.com

CFPB’s Richard Cordray Discusses Dodd-Frank

March 31st, 2017 at 7:24am

The CFPB (Consumer Financial Protection Bureau) exists to protect us. This is why banks and loan servicing companies are trying to kill it.

Read the full article and interview with Richard Cordray in DSNews.

Real Estate Brokerage, Agents Successfully Defend Charges of Fraud, Negligence

March 30th, 2017 at 3:52pm

An unnamed real estate brokerage and its agent received a unanimous verdict in their favor after an 11-day jury trial in San Mateo Superior Court (CIV528024).

The plaintiff was a real estate investor who had purchased a 4-plex in Menlo Park in 2013 that required substantial remodeling. The seller’s real estate agent had recommended a contractor who was later found to be unlicensed. The buyer/investor then sued the agent and brokerage, accusing them of intentional misrepresentation, negligence, and unjust enrichment.

“A lot was at risk for our clients, and we are absolutely thrilled that we were able to defend them outright from some very serious claims,” said prevailing attorney Charlie Bronitsky of the Law Offices of Peter N. Brewer. “It came down to the fact that, every day, real estate agents refer vendors to clients and prospective clients; establishing a duty for the realtors regarding the validity of those vendor recommendations would create an undue burden.”

Read the original article in Digital Journal.

 

Citrus Heights Real Estate Agent Sentenced to Prison in Mortgage Fraud Case

March 30th, 2017 at 3:35pm

Dianna Woods has received a three-year sentence in federal prison after being convicted of four counts of making false statements on loan applications. She was sentenced in Sacramento by Senior U.S. District Judge William B. Shubb.

Woods, 60, was a licensed real estate salesperson for a brokerage called VLD Realty, dba Trade House USA. VLD built and sold houses in residential developments in the Sacramento, Carmichael and Copperopolis areas. When the real estate market started to decline in 2006, VLD tried to sell some of its properties by making the down-payments for buyers and giving them money after the sale closed. Woods was accused of purchasing two of the houses without disclosing the kickbacks and also allegedly submitted loan applications and supporting documentation containing untrue information regarding the purchase terms, as well as her income, employment and assets.

The prosecution grew after the circumstances were investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation. The case was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of California.

Read the original article in the Sacramento Bee.

Two Plead Guilty in Massachusetts Short Sale Fraud

March 30th, 2017 at 3:17pm

Four persons are facing the justice system for their involvement in a short sale fraud scheme that occurred in Essex County in Massachusetts.

Jasmin Polanco, 37, a real estate closing attorney, and Vanessa Ricci, 40, a mortgage loan officer, each pleaded guilty yesterday to one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud. Both women have not yet been sentenced.

In the same alleged scheme, Methuen real estate broker Greisy Jimenez, 49,  was indicted this week on two counts of bank fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud.

On March 22, 2017, U.S. District Court Judge Rya W. Zobel sentenced a fourth person, Hyacinth Bellerose, 51, a real estate closing attorney from Dunstable, to time served and one year of supervised release to be served in home detention.

Jimenez, Polanco, Ricci, Bellerose and others allegedly submitted materially false and misleading documents to different banks so that the lenders would approve short sales. Approved short sales are required to be arms-length transactions where the seller and buyer are not acquainted through familial, business or other pre-existing relationships with one another. Also, the seller/borrower is almost always required to move out of the property following the sale.

Read the original article in The Patch.

“Assistant Coach Bandit” Pleads Guilty in Loan Modification Scam

March 30th, 2017 at 3:01pm

Huntington Beach resident James Allen Ramsdell, called the “Assistant Coach Bandit” by the FBI for robbing banks in Southern California, has pleaded guilty to defrauding people who sought loan modifications.

In 2009, Ramsdell, 51, received a three-year sentence in federal prison for robbing banks in Anaheim, Costa Mesa, Huntington Beach and San Diego County.

A youth coach as well as a sub-prime mortgage broker, Ramsdell now faces 6 months in county jail following his guilty plea to eight felony counts including grand theft and a sentencing enhancement for his prior bank robbery conviction. There were six victims, from which he took $40,000 for illegally charging upfront/advance fees for loan modification services he did not perform.

Read the original article in the Orange County Register.

 

Judge Sends a Signal as Former Executive Gets Prison in Seeno Mortgage Fraud Case

March 28th, 2017 at 11:26am

Pray that you are not a white-collar criminal whose sentence is up to Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers.

The Oakland judge sentenced Ayman Shahid, 41, of Rancho Santa Fe, to 46 months in federal prison. Shahid had pleaded guilty in 2015 to conspiracy to commit bank fraud and had cooperated with federal authorities in their efforts to build a case against  the Discovery Sales corporation, which is the sales arm of the Seeno homebuilding empire. Federal prosecutors had asked for a lesser sentence for Shahid.

Judge Gonzalez Rogers said she wanted to make an example out of white-collar criminals because she believes federal financial rules appeared to be going in the direction of deregulation of the mortgage industry.

This is a case that dates back over seven years, which was when federal agents raided the Concord headquarters of the Senno family.

Read the original article in the Mercury News. There are also earlier postings in the California Real Estate Fraud Report about this case which you can search and read.

 

 

© Copyright 2007-2017 Monique Bryher

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The information and notices contained on The California Real Estate Fraud Report are intended to summarize recent developments in real estate fraud, mortgage fraud, short sale fraud, REO fraud, appraisal fraud, loan modification scams, loan modification fraud and other real estate related crimes occurring in Los Angeles and California. The posts on this site are presented as general research and information and are expressly not intended, and should not be regarded, as legal advice. Much of the information on this site concerns allegations made in civil lawsuits and in criminal indictments. All persons are presumed innocent until convicted of a crime. Readers who have particular questions about real estate fraud, mortgage fraud and appraisal fraud matters or who believe they require legal counsel should seek the advice of an attorney.

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