April 29th, 2016 at 1:16pm
John Packard is a convicted felon who caught a lucky break.
Packard, 66, is the co-founder of Irvine-based Pacific Property Assets, along with his former partner, CEO Michael J. Stewart, 68. In exchange for testifying against Stewart in a case in which prosecutors alleged that about 650 mostly elderly investors lost a total of $169 million in savings and retirement funds when PPA declared bankruptcy, Packard received only 2 1/2 years, whereas Stewart was sentenced to 14 years.
Packard’s luck is that he and his ex-wife, who is serving a life sentence for contracting the murder of her wealthy boyfriend William McLaughlin, have a 16-year old daughter. U.S. District Judge Cormac J. Carney granted the lenient sentence to Packard for his cooperation and lesser culpability than Stewart.
Read the original article in the Orange County Register.
April 29th, 2016 at 1:00pm
A Sacramento County jury has found 52-year-old Richard Henri Fecteau guilty of 23 felony real estate fraud charges involving grand theft, recording false documents and illegally acting as a foreclosure consultant, according to a Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office press release. The jury also found an enhancement for a white-collar crime.
Fecteau ran a foreclosure rescue company called Team Fecteau between 2011 and 2014 . Homeowners were told to deed their properties to a trust in which the co-trustees were Fecteau and people who had recently filed for bankruptcy. After an automatic stay against foreclosure on the property was granted under federal bankruptcy laws, Fecteau told the homeowners to make monthly payments to him and have no further contact with their lenders.
After most of his clients were foreclosed on, Fecteau and one of his employees filed phony mechanic’s liens against the properties in order to extract settlements by the lenders before they resold the homes.
April 29th, 2016 at 12:48pm
Danville businessman Anthony Keslinke, 47, was sentenced to four years in prison by Judge Jon Tigar in the U.S. District Court in Oakland after previously pleading guilty to real estate fraud and money laundering schemes.
Keslinke’s sentence arose out of a guilty plea last year in which he admitted to devising schemes to short-sell properties and for accepting what he thought was drug money from an undercover Internal Revenue Service agent. He must also pay almost $1.3 million in restitution to his victims and to forfeit approximately $3 million in assets.
Read the original article in the Mercury News.
Read the article in the Antioch Herald to learn more about Anthony Keslinke‘s fraudulent short sales (short sale fraud) and the profits he made from it.
April 27th, 2016 at 7:55am
Barulich Dugoni Law Group is representing an elderly Menlo Park woman in a lawsuit against a Realtor®.
Alexandra Banis, an attorney with the firm, says Robert Leitao gained an interest in the home of Gunhild B. Bogue after he took advantage of her when she was facing foreclosure last year.
San Mateo has an Elder and Dependent Adult Protection Team that consists of representatives from the county’s Health System, District Attorney’s Office, County Counsel and private law firms, such as Barulich Dugoni.
Bogue is an 89-year-old whose estate is now under the conservatorship of the San Mateo County Public Guardian. The lawsuit alleges Leitao contacted Bogue after the property was listed as in foreclosure. He allegedly drafted several documents such as a will, deed of trust and loan agreement and offered to pay her mortgage while allowing her to remain in the home until she died in exchange for her to deed him the property worth an estimated $1.4 million. According to Banis, Bogue signed the documents under duress.
Leitao denies the allegations and said he saved Bogue’s property, which was just days away from foreclosure and had amassed almost $800,000 worth of debt and a mortgage that hadn’t been paid in years.
Read the original article in the San Mateo Daily Journal.
April 22nd, 2016 at 6:54am
One of the most prolific and successful prosecutors of mortgage fraud and real estate fraud has resigned.
Benjamin Wagner, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of California, said he will step down at the end of April. He will be replaced by First Assistant U.S. Attorney Phillip Talbert will become acting U.S. attorney on May 1.
Wagner, 56, was appointed U.S. Attorney by President Obama in 2009; it is customary for U.S. attorneys to resign their posts when presidential administrations change. His district covers the region from Bakersfield to the Oregon border, areas which suffered by the housing and mortgage crisis.
Read the original article in ABC News.
April 22nd, 2016 at 6:45am
Aruna Kumari Chopra, 66, was sentenced to prison one year and one day in prison, to be followed by a year of home confinement, for her mail fraud conviction in a mortgage fraud scheme she perpetuated against lenders.
In 2008, Chopra purchased property on Dale Road in Modesto that she planned to develop into a shopping center to be called “The Plaza at Dale.” She filed documents with the Stanislaus County Recorder’s Office containing forged signatures so that her lenders wouldn’t find out about liens on the property. The defrauded lenders made loans on the property for approximately $8.9 million. No word as to whether she still “owns” the property.
Aruna Chopra’s husband Sawtantra Chopra has his own ethical challenges, having previously pleaded guilty to one count of receiving illegal kickbacks in a real estate transaction in Danville. For that, he was sentenced to 180 days of home detention, fined $75,000, ordered to do 500 hours of community service and placed on three years of probation, according to a December 1, 2014 report in the Modesto Bee. Sawtantra Chopra, who studied medicine in India and has practiced in California since 1975, cooperated with an investigation by the state Medical Board, which only suspended his doctor license for one month and ordered him to take an ethics course.
Read the original article in the News India Times.
April 20th, 2016 at 10:25am
SACRAMENTO — Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today announced her support for the Homeowner Survivor Bill of Rights, California Senate Bill 1150, legislation authored by Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) and Senator Cathleen Galgiani (D-Stockton). The proposed bill would require companies that collect payments from borrowers—mortgage loan servicers— to communicate with the widowed spouses and survivors of homeowners to ensure that survivors receive accurate information about assuming responsibility for a mortgage and avoiding foreclosure. This legislation builds on Attorney General Harris’ work in 2011, when she secured $20 billion in relief for California homeowners.
Read the entire press release on the California Department of Justice website.
April 14th, 2016 at 3:49pm
Roberto Sanchez, 67; his wife, Rosalva Sanchez, 62, of Oxnard; and Patrick Iturra, 45, of Canyon Lake have been arraigned in Ventura County Superior Court.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Tony Wold said the three defendants solicited homeowners who were trying to avoid foreclosure. They operated a fraudulent business called Mercury Business Group and charged $100,000 from 11 victims.
“All of the victims were Spanish-speaking homeowners who were less sophisticated in matters involving real estate,” Wold said. “Several of them had already lost legal ownership of their homes through the foreclosure process prior to having contact with the defendants. No reputable business would take your money under those circumstances.”
Read the original article in the Ventura County Star.
April 14th, 2016 at 3:41pm
Ligia Sandoval Spafford (Sandoval), 48, a Roseville resident, was sentenced to two years and three months in prison by U.S. District Judge Troy L. Nunley for operating a scheme that defrauded distressed homeowners, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.
According to authorities, from 2008 to 2010, Sandoval and her former husband Martin Wayne Flanders, 51, charged their victims advance fees for a variety of “services,” including loan modifications, mortgage loan audits, credit repair, debt relief, bankruptcy filings, and a program to sell homes to “investors” with a rent-to-own option.
Ligia Sandoval paid the full amount of $115,065.00 in restitution to the victims. Flanders was sentenced last years to six years and five months in prison.
Read the original article in the Imperial Valley News.
April 14th, 2016 at 3:29pm
Wells Fargo Bank has agreed to pay $1.2 billion to settle civil mortgage fraud claims as a result of a lawsuit by the U.S. Department of Justice regarding the company’s participation in a Federal Housing Administration (FHA) lending program.
Under the settlement, which was approved Friday by U.S. District Judge Jesse M. Furman for the Southern District of New York, Wells Fargo has admitted responsibility for certifying to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) that certain residential home mortgage loans were eligible for FHA insurance, when in reality they were not. When some of the loans defaulted, the government (meaning taxpayers) were forced to pay the FHA insurance claims.
Read the original article in Reverse Mortgage Daily.