California Real Estate Fraud Report

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SunTrust Fined $320 Million for Misleading Consumers

July 18th, 2014 at 1:15pm

According to a recent article in the Spokesman-Review,  SunTrust Mortgage Inc. will pay $320 million to the U.S. government to resolve allegations that it misled customers pursuing their loan modifications options.

U.S. Attorney Timothy Heaphy, who was assigned to this case, said in the settlement documents that SunTrust Mortgage had either misrepresented or omitted information to its borrowers who wanted to take advantage of the federal HAMP program and further, that SunTrust failed to process the borrowers’ applications in the timely manner.

The settlement money will be distributed as follows: $274 million in restitution to harmed borrowers and the remainder to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, to law enforcement agencies working on mortgage fraud and to mortgage counseling agencies.

Former GMAC Loan Officer Charged in Mortgage Fraud Case

July 18th, 2014 at 11:01am

Penny O’Malley, a former loan officer with GMAC Mortgage has been charged with conspiracy, grand theft and other crimes after an investigation by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development determined O’Malley conspired with her stepmother, Ellen Flores, to falsify the loan application for an unqualified buyer.

According to Kern County Deputy District Attorney Gordon Isen, both O’Malley and Flores have been charged with a total of 11 felonies, which, after he amended the original complaint, now include perjury and obtaining money by false pretenses.

The charges stem from a loan made to Consuelo Herrera, who wanted to purchase a home in southeast Bakersfield. O’Malley is alleged to have convinced her stepmother to provide information on the loan application stating that Herrera worked at a liquor store owned by the stepmother’s husband. Herrera was unemployed at the time. The loan, made in 2006, defaulted just two years later but wasn’t discovered by HUD investigators until 2010.

Read the original article in the Bakersfield California.


Former Los Angeles Deputy Sheriff Sentenced in $11 Million Mortgage Fraud Case

July 11th, 2014 at 12:40pm

Arman Nshanian, 38, of Corona, California, was convicted in a Missouri courtroom on December 6, 2013 for his role in a mortgage fraud scheme that took place in that state. Last week, Nshanian was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Greg Kays to three years and six months in federal prison without parole and ordered Nshanian to pay $785,926 in restitution.

Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced the sentence. She noted that because Nshanian committed perjury at trial when he testified in he own defense, the court gave him an enhanced sentence for obstructing justice.

One of Arman Nshanian’s co-defendants was James Arthur Nash, Jr., 44, who was also a sheriff’s deputy at one time.

Nshanian and Nash are two of nine defendants who operated a mortgage fraud scheme in 2005 and 2006 in various cities in Missouri that involved undisclosed kickbacks to the buyer and caused losses to the lender of almost $5 million. Both men were accused of providing false information about their employment and inflating their incomes in order to purchase one or more properties.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Linda Parker Marshall. It was investigated by the FBI and IRS-Criminal Investigation.

Read the original article in the Imperial Valley News.

Petaluma Real Estate Agent Sentenced to Prison for Orchestrating Ponzi Scheme

July 11th, 2014 at 10:41am

Aldo Baccala, 73, a former real estate agent who pleaded no contents to a 141-count of criminal charges for a Ponzi scheme, was sentenced to 20 years in prison by Judge Gary Medvigy. Judge Medvigy also ordered Baccala to pay a $6.4 million fine for the havoc he wrecked on his investors, most of whom were financially ruined. Some of his victims were said to be close friends.

Prosecutors and Probation Department officials had recommended 137 years and four months in prison for the crimes, which included counts of securities fraud and grand theft with enhancements for elder financial abuse and white-collar crime. The crimes occurred from 2004 to 2008

Prior to sentencing, many victims testified how their life’s savings of over 40 years were wiped out by Baccala, who blamed the losses on the economic downturn. Baccala’s statements were countered by prosecutors, who said Baccala knowingly defrauded investors by issuing promissory notes backed by properties he didn’t own and that he used the monies he received to pay earlier investors, make risky stock market investments of course treat himself to a lavish lifestyle.

Read the original article in the Press Democrat.

“Keeping My Property” Owner Charged with Defrauding Contra Costa Homeowners

June 20th, 2014 at 8:37am

Marc Stanley Cooper, 60, has been charged by the Contra Costa District Attorney’s Office with 21 counts of elder financial abuse, foreclosure fraud and grand theft.

Prosecutors said Cooper solicited homeowners in distress for money to negotiate a reduction in their mortgages but did not do so, instead defrauding the 15 homeowners.

“He is an experienced con man who promised individuals who were suffering with overly large mortgages that he could reduce their mortgages as well as modify their loans,” said Deputy District Attorney Ken McCormick, of the District Attorney’s real estate fraud unit. “In reality, he was embezzling and defrauding them.”

Read the original article in the Mercury News.

Yorba Linda Man Pleads Guilty in Sacramento to Mortgage Fraud

June 19th, 2014 at 12:18pm

U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wagner announced that Joseph Gekko, 45, a Yorba Linda man, pleaded guilty in Sacramento U.S. District Court to three counts of wire fraud having to do with a mortgage fraud scheme.

Gekko’s guilty plea is another in the long-running prosecution of persons involved with Loomis Wealth Solutions.

According to investigators and prosecutors, Gekko was part of a mortgage fraud scheme that caused over $10 million in losses to institutional lenders.

Read the original article in the Central Valley Business Times.

Santa Rosa Man Convicted in Mortgage Elimination Scheme

June 19th, 2014 at 11:46am

Ronald Cupp, 59, of Santa Rosa man, was convicted of running a mortgage elimination scheme that targeted homeowners in distress in Sonoma and Marin counties.

Cupp promised, through his Rohnert Park-based business, North Bay Trust Services, to actually eliminate mortgage debt in exchange for $7,500 advance fees and 30% of whatever debt he “killed,” according to prosecutor Amy Ariyoshi. A sign outside of his business read “Mortgage problems?”

In the end, Cupp, who represented himself, was convicted of 15 felonies, including forgery and falsifying documents.

Read the original article in the Press Democrat.

Camarillo Woman Sentenced to Prison for Mortgage Fraud

June 19th, 2014 at 11:32am

United States District Court Judge John A. Kronstadt sentenced Rosa Fernandez, 38, of Camarillo, to 97 months in federal prison for the role she played in defrauding banks by falsifying applications by borrowers.

After being arrested in 2010 and charged along with nine other persons, Fernandez pleaded guilty in February 2012 to three counts of bank fraud. Shockingly, while awaiting sentencing, Fernandez defrauded a lender on one of her own properties while attempting a loan modification, for which she later pleaded guilty.

As part of her punishment, Rosa Fernandez must pay restitution to the banks of $3,646,485.

This large mortgage fraud scheme was investigated by numerous local and federal agencies, as follows: the FBI Ventura Resident Agency and the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office, IRS-Criminal Investigation, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development-Office of the Inspector General, the Federal Housing and Finance Administration-Office of the Inspector General, the U.S. Secret Service, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations.

Read the original article in the Imperial Valley News.

Petaluma Owners of Mortgage Modifiers Appear in Bankruptcy Court

June 6th, 2014 at 8:21am

Miguel Angel Lopez-Soleta and his wife, Heidi Beth Marks-Lopez have filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy following a criminal investigation into Lopez-Soleta’s firm Mortgage Modifiers, Inc.

Mortgage Modifiers claimed to help homeowners who were underwater to save their homes by restructuring their debt. But at the hearing, dozens of Lope-Soleta’s creditors accused him of taking thousands of dollars from them and failing to follow through with lenders, causing them to lose their homes or drop deeper into debt.

Calling Lopez-Soleta and Mars-Lopez “Hey, snake!” “Hey slime ball!”, the creditors and their attorneys claimed that the couple stole their money, and instead of using to help them as promised, financed a life of luxury, including expensive vacations, jewelry and other extravagant purchases.

Read the original article in the Press Democrat.

Crisp & Cole Associates Receive Sentences

June 6th, 2014 at 8:13am

Christopher Lance Stovall, 41, a loan officer with Tower Lending, was sentenced to 12 months in prison. After he serves this sentence, Stovall must go through 30 months of supervised release. According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, he “knowingly” caused false statements to be made in loan application he processed on behalf of straw buyers for Crisp & Cole.

Megan Balod, 34, was a straw buyer for Crisp & Cole. She was sentenced to 36 months of probation for four counts of mail fraud and aiding and abetting.

Read the original article in KERO-TV.

© Copyright 2007-2014 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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