California Real Estate Fraud Report

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Cerritos Realtor® Arrested in Escrow Fraud Scheme in Alleged Short Sale Fraud Scheme

January 6th, 2017 at 10:15am

A Cerritos real estate broker was arrested for taking part in a two-year escrow fee scam that stole over $500,000 from over 30 victims.

Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies arrested Mario Gonzalez, a licensed broker at MCR Escrow, located at 1800 Studebaker Road #700.

Gonzalez, 45, allegedly participated in a scam in which homes were fraudulently listed as short sales, investigators in the Sheriff’s fraud bureau said. Buyers were required to pay escrow fees to “secure” a property after they submitted their bids. None of the sales closed, yet the buyers’ fees were not returned to them.

Mario Gonzalez has also been reported to RipoffReport.com, presumably by some of his unhappy customers.

Investigators are looking for other victims and can contact Detective Keith Clark at 562-946-7217.

In the meantime, Gonzalez is being held in lieu of a $70,000 bail at the Norwalk Sheriff Station.

Read the original article in Los Cerritos News.

Yorba Linda Man Sentenced to 4 Years in Real Estate Fraud Scheme

January 6th, 2017 at 10:00am

Andres Oman Pacheco, 40, has been sentenced to four years in prison after pleading guilty to the following crimes in a real estate fraud case:

Two counts of grand theft, both felonies
Admitting a sentencing enhancement allegation for aggravated white collar crime exceeding $500,000

The victims put money on deposit to buy property and when the deals fell through Pacheco would not refund the money, McFetridge said.

Pacheco was the owner of Santa Ana-based Franklin Equity Corporation/Signature Escrow, according to Senior Deputy District Attorney George McFetridge. His victims had entrusted him with $540,000 to invest in properties. When the sales failed to close, Pacheco refused to return their money.

Read the original article in the OC Register.

 

Santa Maria Men Charged in Real Estate Fraud of Short Sale Properties

December 16th, 2016 at 12:09pm

Two men have been charged by the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office  with allegedly committing real estate fraud that cost Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac at least $500,000.

Angelo Gabriel Naemi, 36, was charged with five counts of grand theft by false pretenses, and one count of conspiracy to commit grand theft. Steven Paul Gonzales, 61, was charged with one count of conspiracy to commit grand theft.
“The complaint alleges that Naemi, a real estate salesperson, and Gonzales, a real estate broker, conspired to falsify documents in association with numerous short sale transactions,” the District Attorney’s Office said.  The complaint against both men also includes special allegations for aggravated white collar crime and excessive losses.

Gonzales became sole owner of CornerStone Real Estate in Santa Maria in 2012 while Naemi is listed as a sales associate with the firm which has an office at 411 E. Betteravia Road, Suite 101.

Read the original article on Noozhawk.

Vacaville Man Seeks New Trial after Being Convicted in Real Estate Fraud Case

December 8th, 2016 at 5:50pm

Richard D. Lamphere, 53, who was found guilty by a jury in September on four of five charges in relation to a real estate fraud case, has indicated through his new attorneys his intent to seek a new trial.

The case against Lamphere dates back more than 10 years and concerns two men who were defrauded out of more than a combined $1.3 million in an Oroville real estate scheme. Both men gave Lamphere their money in the hopes that they would profit from Lamphere’s real estate investment project. Prosecutors, however, presented evidence that he used the victims’ investment money for his personal use.

One of the men, sued  Richard Lamphere in civil court and was awarded $1.9 million. This proceeded the filing of criminal charges by the Solano County District Attorney’s Office.

Read the original article in TheReporter.com.

 

Operator of Mercury Business Group Pleads Guilty in Foreclosure Consultant Fraud Case

December 8th, 2016 at 5:39pm

Patrick Iturra, 46, of Canyon Lake, pleaded guilty to two counts of foreclosure consultant fraud and three counts of felony grand theft, according to Ventura County prosecutors.

Iturra, who operated a business called Mercury Business Group, was accused of promising homeowners he could save their properties from foreclosure if they paid him upfront fees.

In addition to facing a possible jail sentence, Iturra “will be ordered to pay restitution to the victims,” say prosecutors.

Read the original article in the Ventura County Star.

 

Loomis Man Sentenced for Third Fraud Scheme

December 8th, 2016 at 5:29pm

Loomis resident Peter Kuzmenko, 38, has been sentenced to 6.5 years for his part in a fraud scheme and ordered to pay $573,332 in restitution to the IRS, according to a U.S. Attorney’s Office news release.

The prison sentence amounts to nothings, as Kuzmenko, who was previously convicted in two mortgage fraud cases in California’s Easterrtgage fraud cases in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of California, will serve his sentence concurrently with the 21 years in prison has has received for those cases.

Read the original article in the Sacramento Bee.

Petaluma Man Sentenced for Mortgage Modification Scam in Front of His Victims

December 6th, 2016 at 8:58am

Sonoma County Superior Court Judge Robert LaForge has ordered Miguel Lopez to serve one year in jail and pay nearly $250,000 in restitution to the more than 80 people he victimized by promising to reduce their mortgage payments in exchange for a fee. Teary eyed victims sat in the courtroom watching it all go down.

Lopez, a Petaluma resident, pleaded no contest to grand theft and embezzlement in October. Sixteen of his victims read their statements in the courtroom and many cried about their suffering and how the long ordeal caused them to lose faith in the legal system.

The $250,000, which Lopez’ defense plans to appeal, will only cover the $1,995 each of the homeowners paid him.

Read the original article in ABC7News.com

 

Long Beach Man Sentenced for “Stay In Your Home Today” Mortgage Fraud

December 6th, 2016 at 8:37am

Long Beach resident Karl Robinson, 52, was sentenced to four years in federal prison after pleading guilty in August to one count of bankruptcy fraud.

Prosecutors had accused Robinson of operating a five-year scheme under his own name and companies he created such as “Stay In Your Home Today,” “21st Century Development” and “Genesis Ventures Corporation.” He purportedly brought in close to $3 million from the distressed homeowners who fell for his scam, which included false promises by Robinson that he could save their homes.

As part of the scheme, Robinson filed falsified grant deeds with county recorders and other fake documents in state court eviction proceedings to make it appear that fictional debtors held interests in the distressed properties. In a plea agreement, Robinson admitted that he misused notary stamps of other individuals in order to fake signatures on legal documents (notary fraud) and that he charged distressed homeowners additional fees if they wanted to unwind fake filings.

“This scheme was never about providing assistance to distressed homeowners,” said U.S. Attorney Eileen M. Decker said in a statement. “It was about lying to distressed homeowners and collecting fees based on false promises. This defendant abused the bankruptcy system and stole identities to perpetrate his fraudulent scheme.”

The case against Robinson was prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorney Kerry L. Quinn of the Major Frauds Section.

East Palo Alto Woman Charged with Elder Abuse against Aunt’s Home

November 18th, 2016 at 10:46am

Shirley Venoya Remmert, 69, lived with her aunt home and provided care to the 96-year old.  The aunt, who suffered from mild cognitive impairment, signed a quitclaim deed to the house to Remmert, who then recorded the deed in January 2016. Remmert allegedly isolated the elderly woman from her family members, who then notified the bank of possible abuse. The bank in turn reported this to San Mateo County Adult Protective Services.

A later investigation by the Public Guardian’s Office, Adult Protective Services, and East Palo Alto Police revealed that Shirley Remmert withdrew somewhere between $40,000 and $80,000 from her aunt’s bank account without the elder woman’s knowledge or permission. Further, the aunt was not aware she signed a quitclaim deed and believed she still owned the house.

Read the original article in Palo Alto Online.

Contra Costa County Investors Plead Guilty to Conspiracy to Rig Auction Bids

November 18th, 2016 at 10:08am

California real estate investors John Michael Galloway and Nicholas Diaz have each pleaded guilty to one count of bid rigging in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in Oakland today.

According to court documents, between June 2008 and January 2011, the two men agreed and conspired with others not to bid against one another, instead setting up a private bidding system. The purpose of that was to suppress competition and to acquire properties at non-competitive prices.

Thus far, 59 persons have either pleaded guilty or agreed to plead guilty in bid rigging at public real estate foreclosure auctions in San Francisco, San Mateo, Contra Costa and Alameda counties.

These investigations are being conducted by the Antitrust Division’s San Francisco Office and the FBI’s San Francisco Office, in connection with the president’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force.

© Copyright 2007-2017 Monique Bryher

Legal Disclaimer.

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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