California Real Estate Fraud Report

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Two Bakersfield women sentenced for mortgage fraud

April 15th, 2015 at 11:31am

Two women from Bakersfield were sentenced Monday in federal court to two years in prison each for their involvement in a mortgage fraud scheme that ran from October 2005 to May 2007.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Fresno said 32-year-old Evelyn Brigget Sanchez and 34-year-old Darling Arlette Montalvo have each been sentenced to two years in prison.

The two women, who worked at mortgage brokerages, were convicted of conspiracy to commit mail fraud, wire fraud and bank fraud, plus other counts, conspired with others to defraud lenders by submitting false and fraudulent loan documentation to lenders. They must each pay financial judgments of over $1 million.

Three of their co-defendants have already been sentenced to prison: Eric Hernandez received 10 years and 10 months; Patricia King received three years and one month in prison; and Monica Hernandez was sentenced to one year.

Read the original story BakersfieldNow.com

Two Jara Brothers Investments defendants plead guilty to mortgage fraud

April 15th, 2015 at 8:57am

Defendants Lucia Chavez, 37, and her husband Joseph Chavez, 41, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud, mail fraud, and wire fraud, in relation to their business dealings with Jara Brothers Investments (JBI) in Bakersfield.

U.S. Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced that Lucia Chavez agreed to a personal forfeiture money judgment of $1,624,450 and Joseph Chavez agreed to a personal forfeiture money judgment of $3,092,000 as part of their plea bargain. Both defendants with be sentenced in mid-July 2015.

JBI was owned by Lucia Chavez‘ brothers Eliseo Jara and Sergio Jara, who were co-defendants in this case. The conspirators committed mortgage fraud against lenders by assisting straw buyers to purchase properties developed by Pershing Partners LLC, which was owned by Lucia Chavez, and Jara Brothers Investments. The lenders neither knew that the conspirators funded the straw buyers‘ down-payments themselves and intentionally submitted false information to the lenders about the financial assets, employment status and bank accounts.

The remaining seven co-defendants have all previously pleaded guilty in this case. Co-defendant Antonio Perez-Marcial was sentenced on May 12, 2014 to 3 years and 10 months in prison for his role in the conspiracy. Co-defendants Eliseo Jara, Sergio Jara, Arlene Mojardin, and Candace Gonzales each pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud, mail fraud, and wire fraud, and are scheduled to be sentenced on the following dates: May 18, 2015 (Arlene Mojardin), June 8, 2015 (Candace Gonzales), and June 22, 2015 (Eliseo Jara and Sergio Jara). Co-defendant Melissa Jara pleaded guilty to wire fraud and is to be sentenced on June 22, 2015. Co-defendant Ricardo Salinas previously pleaded guilty to bank fraud, and his sentencing is set for June 29, 2015.

The Jara Brothers Investments case was jointly investigated by the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kirk E. Sherriff, Henry Z. Carbajal III, and Megan A.S. Richards were the prosecutors.

Read the original article in KERO 23ABC News.

Detroit homes at risk from tax liens – homeowners fight back

April 8th, 2015 at 9:07am

Although this story originates in Detroit, it is instructive as to this kind of potential real estate actions against homes occurring in every state.

Oakland County Treasurer Andy Meisner says “It’s theft,” in describing how operators set up corporate names and find homes that are behind on tax payments. They pay some of the past-due property taxes, then foreclose and put the homes up for auction. So far, at least 50 homes have had their ownership status put into jeopardy by these actions.

Meisner further said that this is a repeat of a scam that occurred in Wayne County 10 years ago. “Our system of property rights in this country is a very basic underpinning of our society,” he said. “Senior citizens, people with disabilities, some of the more vulnerable are really, really at risk.”

One military veteran managed to save his home that Consolidated Brokers’ Pool was trying to take title to through the court system.  He was fortunate in that Oakland County Clerk and Register of Deeds Lisa Brown and other County officials persuaded Oakland County Circuit Judge Nanci Grant to rule against Consolidated. Lisa Brown was quoted as saying “They are stealing homes. They’re committing a fraud on the court.” (Photo: Ryan Garza/Detroit Free Press) And “Consolidated Brokers’ Pool LLC accrued NO legal interest in the subject property.”

Consolidated Brokers’ Pool is owned by Sherman Pegross, a 45-year old Detroit man who has  served time in federal prison and has a criminal record of arrests and convictions for theft, credit card fraud and other offenses.

Other homeowners are fighting the liens placed against their homes, many by Consolidated or other entities operated by Pegross. Yet to date, nobody has been charged with a crime.

For his part, Pegross says, “The treasurer likes to make me out to be the monster simply because he doesn’t want me to do what I’m doing because sometimes I help myself, sometimes I help the (homeowner). But when I help myself or that person, it means he didn’t sell it at auction. He’s mad about that.”

In the meantime, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette published an opinion last year that anyone paying taxes on a property he or she doesn’t own is simply making a gift and earns no rights to the property.

Read the original article in the Detroit Free Press.

Marin County mortgage broker pleads guilty in investment fraud

April 8th, 2015 at 8:33am

A Marin County, California, mortgage broker pleaded guilty last month to 14 federal counts related to a $2.4 million scheme to defraud investors.

Paul Sloane Davis, a 75-year old mortgage broker, pleaded guilty in March to 14 federal counts in relation to a $2.4 million real estate investment fraud.

Davis operated D.M. Financial along with Diane Cobb, 57, who pleaded guilty in July 2014.  U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag said the pair diverted investor funds for their own use or to make interest payments to prior investors (Ponzi schemes). The investment opportunity was to provide short-term financing to borrowers for their real estate transactions.

Read the original article in Inman.com

Corona men arrested for foreclosure rescue fraud

April 8th, 2015 at 8:24am

Two men who allegedly ran a foreclosure rescue fraud in Ontario have been arrested, according to the Ontario Police Department.

Eliseo Delgado, 36,  and Michael Vizcarra, 24, have beencharged with several counts of theft by false pretenses and foreclosure rescue fraud. Their businesses were called CMA Debit Relief Inc. and Vision One Modifications Inc. Authorities said they charged their victims advance fees (illegal) and provided little or no services.

Read the original article in the Inland News Today.

 

Modesto resident Xue Heu pleads guilty to elaborate distressed real estate fraud

March 31st, 2015 at 3:27pm

According to an article in the Modesto Bee, Xue Heu, 38, who conned over $1.26 million from investors in California and Texas, pleaded guilty on Monday to two counts of wire fraud.

Heu and Thomas Dickey Price, 72,  posed as representatives of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac who were selling foreclosed homes through their companies Liquid Assets & Land Investments Inc. and Capital Land Investments LLC. The homes had already been sold but the pair used forged deeds (title fraud) and other fraudulent documents in order to fool their victims.

Heu used the alias Michael Chan and Price used the names Albert Martin and Matt Taylor.

A third conspirator, Carla Lee Miller, signed a plea arrangement earlier this month.

Xue Heu will be sentenced in June in Fresno. If he pays restitution to his victims of $403,469 he could receive less than the 20 year sentence for which he is eligible.

The case was investigated by the FBI and the ace team at the Stanislaus County District Attorney’s Office real estate fraud unit.

Read a copy of the plea agreement Xue Heu made with the Office of U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wagner.

San Jose woman sentenced for real estate Ponzi scheme

March 26th, 2015 at 7:51am

The office of United States Attorney Melinda Haag announced that Joyce Esther De Armero was sentenced to 12 months and one day in prison and ordered to pay restitution for mail fraud in a real estate investment fraud case.

De Armero, 37, pleaded guilty on December 4, 2014, to mail fraud and admitted that she conned investors into giving her money to invest in high-interest real estate loans with guaranteed returns between July 2008 and January 2010.  She confessed that she made no investments but spent the money on herself, other than using some of the funds from the later investors to re-pay the earlier ones, in order to keep her Ponzi scheme operating.

Read the original article in the Imperial Valley News.

Man pleads guilty in title fraud, property flipping case

March 26th, 2015 at 7:43am

According to U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy, Daniel Deaibes has pleaded guilty for his role in a scheme to flip houses by first stealing the title to homes in Southern California.

In his plea agreement, Deaibes admitted that between September 2012 and November 2014 he and two alleged co-conspirators fraudulently sold or attempted to sell at least 10 homes for more than $2.3 million. Deaibes admitted that he and the alleged co-conspirators, one of whom owned several real estate businesses, would record fraudulent grant deeds at the county recorders’ offices and then immediately attempt to sell the properties to unsuspecting buyers.

The scheme unraveled when Fannie Mae, the owner of one of the properties, discovered the fraud and attempted to regain title. In response, Deaibes and the others created a fake “Withdrawal of Lis Pendens” in an effort to proceed with the fraudulent sale. Even after Fannie Mae won a court judgment, the co-conspirators recorded a fraudulent “Satisfaction of Judgment”.

Read the full article in FBI.gov.

Judge denies injunction by Nationwide Biweekly Administration against district attorneys

March 20th, 2015 at 7:56am

This is a very good article about consumer protection with respect to financial services solicitation, which you can read in its entirety in Courthouse News Service.

Loan Payment Administration and its corporate parent Nationwide Biweekly Administration sued district attorneys in Monterey and Marin counties in October 2014 after a Monterey deputy district attorney said their solicitation letters violated state law. The latter company has a program called the  “Interest Minimizer,” which in their mailed solicitations claims to save customers tens of thousands of dollars in interest over the life of a loan.

Monterey County Deputy District Attorney John Hubanks, one of the defendants,  said that some customers don’t realize those letters are coming from a third party. He also said that the letters from Nationwide Biweekly Administration do not disclose that it charges a fee for its Interest Minimizer program and that Nationwide employees are trained to “obscure the existence or amount of fees during phone calls.” (per Courthouse News Service).

The plaintiffs asked U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh for a preliminary injunction against the DAs, saying their free speech rights were violated and that “use of lenders’ name in truthful, non-misleading offers to potential customers does not violate any valid state law.”

Judge Koh, in her ruling, disagreed and denied the motion and wrote  “Nationwide has not shown that the public interest weighs in favor of granting an injunction.”  She found, among other things, that Nationwide did not show a likelihood of success on the merits of its First Amendment claim, and that “an injunction would prohibit local officials from enforcing statutes designed to protect consumers from the risk of fraud.”

 

Three Jara family members plead guilty to Bakersfield mortgage fraud

March 17th, 2015 at 5:23pm

Bakersfield residents Eliseo Jara Jr., 35, and his brother, Sergio Jara, 33, have pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud, mail fraud, and wire fraud in a $5.6 million mortgage fraud case. Sergio Jara’s wife, Melissa Jara, 34, pleaded guilty to wire fraud in the same case, according to the Office of the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of California.

According to prosecutors, from 2007 to 2010, the Jara brothers, who owned Jara Brothers Investments, conspired with other persons to use straw buyers to purchase residential properties in Bakersfield they had developed with Pershing Partners LLC. Straw buyers were paid to purchase the properties from the two firms and they were funded by submitting false documentation to the lenders. Melissa Jara admitted she had submitted fraudulent loan documents to a lender on behalf of a straw buyer in order to finance a property she owned in an LLC.

All three defendants have agreed to financial restitution and relinquishing six properties as part of their sentences, which have yet to be set.

This case is the product of a joint investigation by the Internal Revenue Service‑Criminal Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kirk E. Sherriff, Henry Z. Carbajal III, and Megan A. S. Richards are prosecuting the case.

Four of the Jara’s co-defendants who have already pleaded guilty are Antonio Perez-Marcial (46 months in prison); Arlene Mojardin (awaiting sentencing); Candace Gonzales (awaiting sentencing); and  Ricardo Salinas (awaiting sentencing).

Read the original article in KERO 23ABC News.

© Copyright 2007-2015 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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