October 21st, 2016 at 6:40am
Moses S. Hall, 60, a resident of Blackwood, New Jersey, has been arrested on federal charges of operating a mortgage modification scheme that defrauded more than 75 distressed homeowners in Orange County. Hall, who formerly had a law practice in Fullerton before he was disbarred in 2012, is being accused of inducing those homeowner to pay him for over $1.4 million in services that he allegedly never provided. The indictment is for 16 counts of fraud and tax offenses.
Among other claims, the indictment alleges Hall concealed from victims that he was using their money to pay for personal expenses and that he was a previously convicted felon who had served time in state prison in New Jersey prior to being admitted as an attorney in California. He told homeowners in distress to cease making their monthly mortgage payments and instead send the money to him for the purpose of negotiating with lenders. Some later lost their homes to foreclosure.
The charges stem from a probe by IRS Criminal Investigation, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and the U.S. Secret Service. The Office of Chief Trial Counsel for the State Bar of California also provided assistance with the investigation. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Charles E. Pell.
Read the press release on the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement website and the OC Register.
October 21st, 2016 at 5:59am
A Thousand Oaks real-estate broker has been charged with forging the signatures of two clients on a document extending a residential listing agreement, Ventura County prosecutors said Wednesday.
Ventura County District Attorney Gregory Totten has filed a criminal complaint against David Roger Bartels, 53, charging him with two felony counts of forgery.
Bartels is a licensed real estate broker by the California Bureau of Real Estate.
The complaint was filed after an investigation by the district attorney’s real-estate fraud unit, prosecutors said.
Bartels owns Help-U-Sell Conejo Valley, prosecutors said.
He is scheduled to appear in Courtroom 12 in Ventura County Superior Court for an early disposition conference at 1:30 p.m. Dec. 8.
Read the press release of the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office.
October 13th, 2016 at 10:21am
In a stunning victory, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled the structure of the CFPB unconstitutional and vacated a $103 million fine against PHH on Tuesday.
PHH had had a $6.4 million fine levied against it by Administrative Law Judge Cameron Elliot. However, CFPB Director Richard Cordray increased the fine to $103 million, saying that PHH violated the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) every time it accepted a kickback payment on or before July 21, 2008 – going far beyond Elliot’s ruling, which had limited PHH’s violations to kickbacks that were connected with loans that closed on or after July 21, 2008.
PHH challenged Cordray’s authority to levy the additional fine and the constitutionality of the CFPB, and after much deliberation, the court agreed with PHH on all counts.
Read the full story in HousingWire.
October 13th, 2016 at 9:32am
Nancy Russell Kempis, 64, of Santa Clara, has been sentenced for more than six-months in jail for scamming a family out of their home and defrauding four banks.
The former real estate agent convinced the family to sell her their home at a “dramatically reduced price” in order to avoid foreclosure. She rented them the home and promised to return it. Instead, she secured a number of fraudulent mortgages, sucking all the equity out of the house and defaulting between 2006 and 2009. The home was then lost to foreclosure and the family evicted.
Kempis’ scam cost lenders $750,000.
Kempis eventually fled to New York, went into hiding under the false name Morpheus Daw Pud Ko and helped run a women’s ministry.
“Ms. Kempis scammed hundreds of thousands of dollars and drove a family into homelessness,” Santa Clara County Deputy District Attorney Charles Huang said in a statement.
Read the original article in KRON4.com
October 13th, 2016 at 9:20am
According to an article in the Daily News, seven people have been found guilty of running a large-scale international identity theft scheme that laundered more than $14 million in fraudulently obtained tax refunds by using bogus Republic of Armenia passports.
Forfeiture notices have been filed by both the Attorney’s Office and U.S. Special agents with the IRS Criminal Investigation against properties in Woodland Hills and Van Nuys that were allegedly purchased with illegally obtained money, according to Thom Mrozek of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California.
Woodland Hills resident Aramais Airapetian, 24, was indicted by a federal grand jury in Santa Ana last month as part of the same investigation with using fraudulent documents, including fake pay stubs and altered bank statements, in order to obtain a mortgage from loanDepot.com
“Stolen identity refund fraud schemes have become a significant, nationwide problem that victimize the United States government, individuals who are identity theft victims and all taxpayers who end up paying for these fraudulent schemes,” said U.S. Attorney Eileen Decker.
October 4th, 2016 at 7:54am
Mission Viejo resident Francisco “Frank” Hobson, 39, has pleaded guilty to taking $2.3 million-plus from investors in a real estate investment fraud.
As part of his plea agreement for wire fraud, Hobson must repay his victims at least $1.5 million, according to federal prosecutors.
According to court records, Hobson operated his “business” between December 2010 and June 2016 and promised the victims their money would be used to purchase properties. In fact, the properties were either not for sale or didn’t exist and the documents Frank Hobson provided were fraudulent or forged.
At one time, Francisco Hobson was a licensed real estate agent with the California Bureau of Real Estate before his license was revoked in August 2016.
Hobson used the victims’ money to buy groceries, travel and for laser-hair removal and plastic surgery, according to court records.
“The defendant made simple promises to his victims, promises he never intended to fulfill,” said U.S. Attorney Eileen M. Decker in a statement. “The defendant then used his victims’ hard-earned money to fund his personal lifestyle.
Read the original article in the Orange County Register or the press release by the U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California.
September 30th, 2016 at 7:58am
Looking up properties on Zillow or Redfin doesn’t make you a real estate agent. Do it right: hire a licensed professional.
September 30th, 2016 at 7:46am
Victims of a Petaluma real estate agent whom prosecutors ripping off at least 100 persons in the Bay Area in an alleged mortgage fraud scam are outraged at the terms of his settlement with state prosecutors.
Miguel Angel Lopez-Soleta, 44, pleaded no contest to felony grand theft and embezzlement from an elderly person through his Rohnert Park business, Mortgage Modifiers, in 2012.
Lopez-Soleta will only serve one year in jail and receive five years of probation.
According to former client Robert Gillis, whose mother lost her Novato home to foreclosure because of Lopez-Soleta, “It’s totally unacceptable. None of the victims agree with it. They are so upset.”
Caroline S. Chen, the deputy attorney general handling the case for Attorney General Kamala D. Harris, did not return a call Thursday seeking comment.
The only good bit of news is that the real estate license of Miguel Angel Lopez-Soleta has been revoked by the California Bureau of Real Estate.
Read the full article in the Press Democrat.
September 30th, 2016 at 7:33am
The risk of fraud in applications for mortgages increased in the second quarter – and the trend will likely continue as credit loosens and purchases increase, CoreLogic says in its latest Mortgage Fraud Risk report.
Read the full article on MortgageOrb.
September 30th, 2016 at 7:29am
Sixty-one-year-old Gregoria Mendoza was sentenced by Ventura Superior Court Judge Ryan Wright to seven years and four months in state prison after she pleaded guilty to multiple counts of grand theft and one count of foreclosure consultant fraud.
Mendoza, a resident of Oak View, was also ordered to pay over $470,000 in restitution to her victims.
Mendoza operated six or more real estate investment schemes according to the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office, snagging investors from Ventura, Los Angeles and Tulare counties.
Read the full article in the VCStar / Ventura County Star.