September 30th, 2014 at 10:32am
Four people have been sentenced to federal prison for scheming to victimizing homeowners in foreclosure.
U.S. District Judge William B. Shubb sentenced Jesse Wheeler, 37, of Roseville to three years; Jewel Hinkles, aka Cydney Sanchez, 64, of Los Angeles to five years; Cynthia Corn, 61, of Oakland to two and a half years; and Brent Medearis, 48, of Modesto to one year and 10 months in prison.
Evidence presented by the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of California showed that Jewel Hinkles was the founder and general manager of Horizon Property Holdings LLC in Beverly Hills. From 2008 through 2010, she offered programs called “Save My Home” or “Homesaver” that promised homeowners she would save their homes and reduce the principal on their mortgages (loan modifications scams).
Jesse Wheeler was one of Hinkles’ affiliates and his Roseville-based company, J.W. Financial Solutions, took in approximately $2,133,376 from more than 600 victims.
Prosecutors said the defendants promised the homeowners they would buy the homeowners’ mortgages at a discount in order to reduce the principal and monthly payments. To effect this, the defendants filed fraudulent deeds (title fraud) transferring an interest in the homeowner’s property to a fictitious entity called Pacifica Group 49/II.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Lee S. Bickley and Matthew D. Segal.
Read the original article in the Merced Sun-Star.
September 30th, 2014 at 8:27am
Crisp & Cole defendant Julie Farmer felt the full weight of the judicial system this past Monday.
Farmer, who was the Chief Operations Officer for the firm, was sentenced by United States District Judge Lawrence J. O’Neill to three years in prison, to be followed by five years of supervised release. Showing just how profitable mortgage fraud was for Farmer and the company, Judge O’Neill further ordered her to pay $2,914,331 in restitution and to forfeit $15 million. That’s not bad income for a scheme that ran for less than four years and saw lenders defrauded out of millions when she and principals David Crisp and Carl Cole used straw buyers to buy and sell residential properties at inflated prices, skimming non-existing equity to line their pockets. All the properties ultimately were foreclosed.
Farmer’s harsh punishment, according to the judge, resulted from her supervising some of her co-defendants in the mortgage fraud conspiracy and for testifying falsely at the trial.
Benjamin Wagner, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of California, announced that “Today’s sentencing is the result of a culture of greed and opportunism that saturated a Bakersfield real estate company.”
Read the original article in KERO-TV.
September 30th, 2014 at 7:49am
Banks that continue using stall tactics to prevent borrowers from refinancing their homes or getting loan modifications are now finding their dishonesty is very costly. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has just fined Michigan-based Flagstar $37.5 million for violating the new mortgage servicing rules.
Read the article in DSNews.
September 26th, 2014 at 8:57am
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has ordered Amerisave Mortgage Corp. to pay $19.3 million fine for deceiving borrowers about interest rates. The penalties include Amerisave’s affiliate Novo Appraisal Management Company and Patrick Markert, the owner of both firms.
Amerisave, which is an Atlanta-based online lending company operating in all 50 states, lured in borrowers
“Amerisave lured consumers in with deceptive advertising, trapped them with costly upfront fees, and then illegally overcharged them for services from an undisclosed affiliate,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray. “By the time consumers could have discovered the advertised low rates were too good to be true, they had already committed to pay hundreds of dollars to Amerisave. Today’s action puts an end to Amerisave’s unacceptable bait-and-switch scheme and holds Patrick Markert personally responsible for his illegal actions.”
Read the press release on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau‘s website.
September 25th, 2014 at 9:49am
Pasadena resident Paul Clark, 51, has been arrested in connection with a mortgage fraud of a Laguna Beach home.
The property had no mortgage and was being remodeled by the owner, who did not live on the premises. He found out that a $400,000 had been taken out against his property when he began receiving foreclosure notices. Laguna Beach police investigated and Clark was identified as a suspect when they found where the bank’s money had been wired, according to Capt. Jason Kravetz.
Read the original article in the Laguna Beach Independent.
September 25th, 2014 at 9:41am
A former real estate agent has been found guilty by a federal jury in Sacramento of one count of mail fraud in relation to a mortgage fraud scam.
Hubert Rotteveel, 52, of Dixon, represented two buyers in the purchase of 13 properties in Dixon. According to the prosecutors’ evidence, Rotteveel worked with the loan officers to provide false information to the lenders about his buyers’ finances. Rotteveel collected over $300,000 in rents from the properties, which went into foreclosure and caused losses of over $3 million to the lenders.
Hubert Rotteveel‘s real estate license was revoked in 2011 by the California Department of Real Estate.
Read the original article in the Sacramento Bee.
September 25th, 2014 at 9:25am
Gloria Thornton, an 87-year old woman, says her former caretakers talked her into buying a home in Cathedral City last year and letting them live there for free. She also bought them a new van and gave them $20,000.
The situation came to light when Thornton’s son, David Lando, saw her tax returns last year, which is how he found out about the home purchase. Lando, who lives in Costa Rica, filed a police report.
This is a very sad story where nobody was paying attention. Mrs. Thornton’s bank didn’t question why an elderly person was purchasing a house and her family most likely didn’t have a financial advisor to watch over her finances.
Read the original article on KESQ.
September 19th, 2014 at 7:33am
After a one-day bench trial on stipulated facts before U.S. District Judge Troy L. Nunley, Alan David Tikal was convicted on 11 counts of mail fraud and one count of money laundering in a mortgage fraud scheme.
Tikal ran a business called KATN, which promised homeowners in financial distress that he would lower their outstanding mortgage debt by 75%, thereby lowering their monthly mortgage payments. He falsely claimed to his victims that he was “a registered private banker with access to an enormous line of credit and the ability to pay off homeowners’ mortgages in full. Tikal told homeowners that in return for various fees and payments, their existing loans would be paid in full, and the homeowners would then owe new loans to Tikal that would be only 25 percent of the original loan.”
As the reader might suspect, none of the homeowners’ saw their mortgages paid, foregiven or reduced and because they were told to stop making their mortgage payments to their banks, many lost their homes to foreclosure. Of the $5.8 million Tikal collected, almost half went into his or his family’s accounts for their personal use.
Alan David Tikal‘s crimes were considered so extensive that he was prosecuted by both the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of California and the California Attorney General’s Office. His case was investigated by SIGTARP, the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation, the California Department of Justice, and the Stanislaus County District Attorney’s Office.
September 19th, 2014 at 7:16am
A short-lived scheme has resulted in a Huntington Beach woman being sentenced to state prison after she admitted to defrauding banks at real estate auctions she held.
Reyna Peinado, 48, and an associate ran auctions for Reliable Posting and Publishing (RPP) and conducted real estate auctions at the Orange County courthouse. According to an FBI investigation, Peinado contacted some of the winning bidders at her auctions and offered to reduce the sale price of the properties they had purchased from between $15,000 and $57,000 if they would pay her a $5,000 bribe.
The banks that held title to the foreclosed properties lost about $261,500 as a result of her crimes.
Read the original article in the Orange County Register the FBI’s press release.
September 19th, 2014 at 6:43am
Three men have received heavy prison sentences for their roles in the Ponzi scheme they ran under the company known as Diversified Management Consultants (DMC).
After hearing victims’ testimonies and an FBI forensic accountant, U.S. States District Judge Troy Nunley sentenced Christopher Jackson, 46, of Elk Grove, to 30 years in prison; Michael Bolden, 60, of Sacramento, to 20 years in prison; and Victor Alvarado, 53, of Sacramento, to 10 years in prison.
According to prosecutors from U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wagner‘s office, DMC ran various investment clubs between 2003 and 2009, convincing at least 240 people, including their own families, to invest with them. Very little of the money was actuall invested, going instead to pay phony returns to previous investors (the Ponzi scheme) and to buy jewelry, expensive clothes and trips and the requisite Lamborghini, Rolls Royce, BMW, and Range Rover.
Three more DMC principals await sentencing: Garry Bradford, Nicholo Arceo and Erica Arceo. Erica was the in-house-attorney but lost her law license with the California State Bar as a result of her involvement and guilty plea.
Read the original article in the Central Valley Business Times.
** Update: meanwhile, some of the investors/victims sued Stewart Title of Placer and Stone Canyon Mortgage, to try to recover some of their losses. According to the Sacramento Bee, the case was settled on Sept. 24 for $900,000.