California Real Estate Fraud Report

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Archive for the 'Foreclosure Consultants' Category

Owner of Global Home Investments Pleads Guilty in Foreclosure Scam Prosecution

January 20th, 2017 at 11:13am

Fontana resident Jose Armando Rodriguez, 57,  has pleaded guilty to grand theft, foreclosure consultant fraud and recording a false instrument.

Rodriguez, the owner and operator of Global Home Investments, told his five victims that he would save their homes from foreclosure, according to Senior Deputy District Attorney Tony Wold of the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office. Wold said that from 2010 to 2012 Rodriguez stole thousands of dollars from the victims, all located in the Oxnard area, but he never helped them.

When the victims later tried to short sell their homes, they found out that Rodriguez also filed false trust deeds and assignments of rent on their homes, all of which were lost to foreclosure.

Read the original article in the Ventura County Star.

 

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.

 

California man gets prison in Las Vegas mortgage fraud scam

October 28th, 2016 at 6:14am

Franklin Marquez, 52, has been sentenced to 4 to 12 years in prison for his involvement in a mortgage fraud scheme. He was convicted on one count of pattern of mortgage lending fraud, a category “B” felony.

Marquez and his co-defendants – Maria Lorena Anzu, Jose Ben Rodriguez and Gilberto Navidad , were alleged to have operated a criminal enterprise in Las Vegas called Majestic Group, LLC. Their pitch to distressed homeowners was that they could sell their homes to Majestic Group at market value and then the company would sell their homes back to them at lower, more affordable prices. The victims were charged upfront fees along with monthly payments.

Read the original article in News3LV.

Disbarred California Attorney Charged in Mortgage Modification Scheme

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.

 

No Justice, Say Victims of Petaluma Real Estate Agent in Mortgage Fraud

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.

 

 

Ventury County Woman Goes to Prison for Foreclosure Consultant Fraud

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.

Last of Three Defendants in Rodis Law Group Case Pleads Guilty

August 10th, 2016 at 2:07pm

Bryan D’Antonio, 50,  is the last of three co-defendants to confess to a conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud in a telemarketing scheme that ran from October 2008 and June 2009 and defrauded over 1,500 people out of about $9 million, according to a statement from Eileen Decker, the U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California.

D’Antonio was described by authorities as the owner and operator of the Rodis Law Group, aka America’s Law Group. His fellow defendants Charles Wayne Farris and Ronald Rodis have already  pleaded guilty to the same charge.

Prosecutors said Rodis Law Group and America’s Law Group found their victims by placing radio advertisements claiming to negotiate lower-interest rates or principal balances by using their team of attorneys, when only Ronald Rodis was an attorney.

Read the original article in the OC Register. There a number of articles about this case that can be found by searching the California Real Estate Fraud Report.

Couple Running Mortgage Rescue and Student Loan Relief Companies Must Forfeit Millions, Says Judge

July 28th, 2016 at 5:19am

LOS ANGELES — A federal judge granted default judgment against two married recidivists in Los Angeles who ran half a dozen phony debt relief businesses, including mortgage rescue, and ordered them to disgorge $2.3 million and other frozen assets.

The Federal Trade Commission settled with Tobias West and Komal West and their companies in May. The July 12 order from U.S. District Judge Otis Wright also bars the Wests and their companies from “representing the benefits or performance of a product or service unless it is not misleading and based on evidence,” and prohibits them from “profiting from consumers’ personal information and failing to dispose of it properly.”

The Wests and their companies, including Good EBusiness, Student Loan Help Direct, Select Student Loan, Select Student Loan Help, and Select Document Preparation charged up to $5,000 a pop for bogus student and home loan relief services, the FTC said in its sealed complaint in February. It said the Komals violated federal laws by “preying on financially struggling consumers and promising to make their mortgage or student loan payments substantially lower by renegotiating with their lender — but without ever having any intention of actually doing so.” the FTC claimed.

If they did bother to do anything, the Wests and their companies often posed as their clients and entered into forbearance deals with lenders, without telling the clients they did so, or that they would be on the hook for interest payments that for many clients totaled thousands of dollars, according to the FTC.

Read the entire article in Courthouse News and the Federal Trade Commission.

 

FTC Halts California Based Mortgage Relief Scam

June 17th, 2016 at 9:28am

The following is a press release from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC):

The Federal Trade Commission has charged the operators of a mortgage relief scam with bilking millions of dollars from homeowners by falsely telling them they could join a so-called “mass joinder” lawsuit that would save them from foreclosure and provide additional financial awards.

“Preying on homeowners who already are financially distressed and struggling to pay their mortgages is appalling,” said Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “That’s why stopping phony mortgage relief operations, like this one, is a priority at the FTC.”

At the FTC’s request, a federal court temporarily halted the scheme, and the agency seeks to permanently stop the alleged illegal practices and obtain refunds for consumers.

According to the FTC’s complaint, Damian Kutzner and four attorneys using a set of law firms under the names Brookstone Law and Advantis Law, claimed they would bring lawsuits against lenders for mortgage fraud and void consumers’ mortgage notes “to give you your home free and clear, and/or to award you relief and monetary damages.”

According to the FTC, the promise of a mass joinder lawsuit is a ruse used by some mortgage relief scams. Unlike class-action lawsuits, in the event of trial each plaintiff would have to prove his or her case separately. Although the defendant attorneys have sued several well-known banks, the FTC has alleged that they have not won any cases and that most were dismissed because they never pursued them. According to the FTC’s complaint, the defendants’ operation did not have attorneys who could litigate hundreds or thousands of cases.

According to the complaint, the defendants mailed marketing materials to consumers with the homeowner’s name, loan amount and property identification number, with statements such as, “Your home will be sold at Auction unless you take immediate action.” People who responded to the advertising were told they could join a lawsuit by paying $895 or more in advance for a “legal analysis,” and that they were likely or certain to prevail in a lawsuit against their lender; some consumers were told they would recover at least $75,000. After claiming the analysis showed that a consumer had a good case, the defendants charged thousands of dollars in recurring monthly fees through the law firms and failed to deposit the fees in client trust accounts as required by law.

The defendants falsely promised some clients that they would add them as plaintiffs in lawsuits; they told others they would add them soon but did so only months later. Clients’ requests for information were ignored. In addition, the defendants did not tell people when their lawsuits had been dismissed and kept collecting fees from those clients. Clients’ requests for refunds were refused.

One of the defendants, Vito Torchia, was disbarred by the California bar for misconduct. During his ethics trial, he conceded that Brookstone failed to provide the most basic elements of legal representation

The defendants are Damian Kutzner; Vito Torchia, Jr.; Jonathan Tarkowski; R. Geoffrey Broderick; Charles T. Marshall; Brookstone Law P.C., doing business as Brookstone Law Group, a California corporation; Brookstone Law P.C., doing business as Brookstone Law Group, a Nevada corporation; Advantis Law P.C.; and Advantis Law Group P.C. They are charged with violating the FTC Act and the FTC’s Mortgage Assistance Relief Services Rule (MARS Rule) and Regulation O.

To learn more, read Home Loans.

The Commission vote approving the complaint was 3-0. The U.S. District Court for the Central District of California entered a temporary restraining order against the defendants on June 1, 2016.

NOTE: The Commission files a complaint when it has “reason to believe” that the law has been or is being violated and it appears to the Commission that a proceeding is in the public interest. The case will be decided by the court.

The Federal Trade Commission works to promote competition, and protect and educate consumers. You can learn more about consumer topics and file a consumer complaint online or by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP (382-4357).  Like the FTC on Facebook(link is external), follow us on Twitter(link is external), read our blogs and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.

Sacramento Man Sentenced to 18 Years for Foreclosure Fraud, Loan Modification Fraud

June 14th, 2016 at 3:11pm

Richard Henri Fecteau, 52, the former operator of a foreclosure rescue company called Team Fecteau, has been sentenced to 18 years in state prison.

In April, Fecteau was convicted by a Sacramento County jury of 23 felony real estate fraud charges related to grand theft, recording false documents and illegally acting as a foreclosure consultant. Sacramento Superior Court Judge Majorie Koller handed down his sentence and ordered ordered Fecteau to pay more than $35,000 in restitution to the many victims he defrauded.

Fecteau’s foreclosure rescue company ran a scheme whereby  he directed homeowners to deed their properties properties to a trust. The trusts were held by people who had recently filed bankruptcy and Fecteau was a co-trustee, which placed an automatic stay against foreclosure of the properties. The duped homeowners were told to make no more payments to their lenders and instead to make monthly payments to Fecteau.

Read the original article in the Sacramento Bee.

 

© Copyright 2007-2017 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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