California Real Estate Fraud Report

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24
Sep

Former “Mr. Ventura” Charged in Real Estate Fraud

The man who was once known as “Mr. Ventura” because of his prolific abilities to attract investors and develop large properties, is now awaiting trial for real estate fraud by the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office, apparently broke since he is being represented by a public defender.

James “Jimmy” Mesa has been charged with felony grand theft in excess of $150,000 in connection with a real estate fraud complaint filed by Skyler Ditschfield in April 2009. Dominic Kardum is the lead prosecutor in the case.

Jimmy Mesa could take credit for developing and renovating parts of Ventura; some of the properties he was associated with were the Bank of Italy building, Oasis Garden and Patio, Capriccio, the Livery Theater, Café Fiore, Palermo and the Westside Cellar.

After the real estate market soured, so did Mesa’s business. “When it got bad, you’d expect him to tuck it under and brace for the fall. But this guy started one Ponzi scheme after another. He started borrowing money on properties, taking it out of one LLC and putting it on another,” said Dan McHugh, who is a retired real estate broker and CPA. McHugh loaned $165,000 for a real estate development project that never materialized and for which his funds may be unrecoverable.

Read the full article in the Ventura County Reporter.

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