California Real Estate Fraud Report

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Archive for the 'Foreclosure fraud' Category

Sacramento Owner of Foreclosure Rescue Company Convicted of Multiple Real Estate Fraud Charges

April 29th, 2016 at 1:00pm

A Sacramento County jury has found 52-year-old Richard Henri Fecteau guilty of 23 felony real estate fraud charges involving grand theft, recording false documents and illegally acting as a foreclosure consultant, according to a Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office press release. The jury also found an enhancement for a white-collar crime.

Fecteau ran a foreclosure rescue company called Team Fecteau between 2011 and 2014 . Homeowners were told to deed their properties to a trust in which the co-trustees were Fecteau and people who had recently filed for bankruptcy. After an automatic stay against foreclosure on the property was granted under federal bankruptcy laws, Fecteau told the homeowners to make monthly payments to him and have no further contact with their lenders.

After most of his clients were foreclosed on, Fecteau and one of his employees filed phony mechanic’s liens against the properties in order to extract settlements by the lenders before they resold the homes.

 

 

Realtor-Funded “Reverse Mortgage” for Elderly Woman Now a Lawsuit

April 27th, 2016 at 7:55am

Barulich Dugoni Law Group is representing an elderly Menlo Park woman in a lawsuit against a Realtor®.

Alexandra Banis, an attorney with the firm, says Robert Leitao  gained an interest in the home of Gunhild B. Bogue after he took advantage of her when she was facing foreclosure last year.

San Mateo has an Elder and Dependent Adult Protection Team that consists of representatives from the county’s Health System, District Attorney’s Office, County Counsel and private law firms, such as Barulich Dugoni.

Bogue is an 89-year-old whose estate is now under the conservatorship of the San Mateo County Public Guardian. The lawsuit alleges Leitao contacted Bogue after the property was listed as in foreclosure. He allegedly drafted several documents  such as a will, deed of trust and loan agreement and offered to pay her mortgage while allowing her to remain in the home until she died in exchange for her to deed him the property worth an estimated $1.4 million. According to Banis, Bogue signed the documents under duress.

Leitao denies the allegations and said he saved Bogue’s property, which was just days away from foreclosure and had amassed almost $800,000 worth of debt and a mortgage that hadn’t been paid in years.

Read the original article in the San Mateo Daily Journal.

Three Charged in Ventura for Soliciting Latinos in Foreclosure Fraud Case

April 14th, 2016 at 3:49pm

Roberto Sanchez, 67; his wife, Rosalva Sanchez, 62, of Oxnard; and Patrick Iturra, 45, of Canyon Lake have been arraigned in Ventura County Superior Court.

Senior Deputy District Attorney Tony Wold said the three defendants solicited homeowners who were trying to avoid foreclosure. They operated a fraudulent business called Mercury Business Group and charged $100,000 from 11 victims.

“All of the victims were Spanish-speaking homeowners who were less sophisticated in matters involving real estate,” Wold said. “Several of them had already lost legal ownership of their homes through the foreclosure process prior to having contact with the defendants. No reputable business would take your money under those circumstances.”

Read the original article in the Ventura County Star.

Foreclosure Rescue Con Artist Who Targeted Hispanics Sentenced to Prison

April 14th, 2016 at 3:41pm

Ligia Sandoval Spafford (Sandoval), 48, a Roseville resident, was sentenced to two years and three months in prison by U.S. District Judge Troy L. Nunley for operating a scheme that defrauded distressed homeowners, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.

According to authorities, from 2008 to 2010, Sandoval and her former husband Martin Wayne Flanders, 51, charged their victims advance fees for a variety of “services,” including loan modifications, mortgage loan audits, credit repair, debt relief, bankruptcy filings, and a program to sell homes to “investors” with a rent-to-own option.

Ligia Sandoval paid the full amount of $115,065.00 in restitution to the victims. Flanders was sentenced last years to six years and five months in prison.

Read the original article in the Imperial Valley News.

Five California Residents Plead Guilty To Defrauding Homeowners in Nationwide Home Loan Modification Scam

March 31st, 2016 at 3:58pm

The following is a Press Release from SIGTARP:

Defendants Used US Treasury Seals and Fake TARP Information to Deceive

WASHINGTON DC — Christy Goldsmith Romero, Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, and Dana Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia announced today that five California men have pleaded guilty for their roles in a nationwide home loan modification scam that defrauded over 400 homeowners out of over $3.8 million.

Roscoe Umali, 38; Jefferson Maniscan, 34; Raymund Dacanay, 47; Isaac Perez, 33; and Joshua Johnson, 36, all resided in the greater Los Angeles area.

“Roscoe Ortega Umali, ringleader of a nationwide mortgage scam ring, and four of his co-conspirators pled guilty to swindling hundreds of desperate homeowners and will now face federal prison time and pay at least $1.2 million in restitution and forfeitures to their victims,” said Christy Goldsmith Romero, Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP). “Umali and his cohorts made false claims of operating a non-profit company, brazenly used the U.S. Treasury seal on fabricated documents, and invented fictitious HAMP benefits. Victim-homeowners paid thousands of dollars in reinstatement fees and trial mortgage payments that never went to their respective lenders; instead Umali and his co-conspirators pocketed over $3.8 million. The U.S. Government’s Home Affordable Mortgage Program (HAMP) is designed to aid struggling homeowners, and like other federal government housing programs, the HAMP application and assistance is free. SIGTARP remains committed to safeguarding victims from TARP-related crimes.”

According to statements of facts filed with their plea agreements, from at least October 2012 through September 2014, the defendants and their co-conspirators targeted struggling homeowners and made a series of misrepresentations to induce those homeowners to make payments of thousands of dollars in exchange for supposed home loan modification assistance. Operating under the names of fictional companies like “Equity Restoration Group,” the defendants falsely held themselves out as a non-profit organization or as affiliated with a real government program, the “Home Affordable Modification Program” (HAMP), designed to help homeowners at risk of foreclosure. Through mass mailings, phone calls, faxes, and emails with their victims, the defendants convinced homeowners to send them “reinstatement fees” and to make several monthly “trial mortgage payments” to the conspiracy, rather than to the homeowners’ lenders. The defendants then did nothing to help modify any mortgages.

Instead, they used the victims’ payments for their own personal benefit and to further the fraud scheme.

This scam victimized over 400 individuals and families nationwide, resulting in a total loss of over $3.8 million. It also resulted in many victims losing their homes, despite the victims’ efforts to modify their mortgages and continue to make payments on their loans.

The defendants were indicted on Oct. 22, 2015, and each faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.

Umali, Maniscan, and Dacanay will be sentenced on June 23, while Perez and Johnson will be sentenced on July 7. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendants will be determined by the court based on the advisory Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Samantha P. Bateman and James P. Gillis are prosecuting the case.

A copy of this press release may be found on the SIGTARP website. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 1:15cr301.

About SIGTARP
The Office of the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program was created as an independent law enforcement agency to investigate fraud, waste, and abuse related to the TARP bailout. To date, SIGTARP investigations have resulted in the recovery of over $5.17 billion to the Government and 146 defendants sentenced to prison.

To report a suspected crime related to TARP, call SIGTARP’s Crime Tip Hotline: 1-877-SIG-2009 (1-877-744-2009).

To receive alerts about reports, audits, media releases, and other SIGTARP news, sign up at www.SIGTARP.gov/pages/press.aspx. Follow SIGTARP on Twitter @SIGTARP.

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Media Inquiries: 202-927-8940
Twitter: @SIGTARP
Web: www.SIGTARP.gov

 

71-Year-Old Man Sentenced to Long Prison Term for Operating Mortgage Elimination Scheme

March 11th, 2016 at 11:22am

Lonnie Glenn Schmidt, 71, who was convicted of real estate fraud relating to foreclosure consulting, has been sentenced to more than 24 years in prison,  according to the the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office. He was found guilty of 30 felony charges involving foreclosure consultant fraud, recording false documents, unauthorized use of personal identifying information, second-degree burglary, perjury, grand theft and attempted grand theft. Jurors also found that Schmidt was subject to out-on-bail, white-collar crime and property loss enhancements.

Prosecutors said that between 2009 and 2013, Schmidt promised homeowners in distress that he would eliminate their mortgages. The homeowners who signed up with Schmidt gave him control over their properties, which he then tried to use those properties as collateral for personal loans. He even attempted to sell them outright for his own profit, yet charged his victims rent to continue to remain in what they thought were their homes.

Read the original article published by the  Sacramento Count District Attorney’s Office.

Third Orange County Man Pleads Guilty in Loan Modification Scheme

March 11th, 2016 at 11:12am

Serj Geuttsoyan, 33, of Santa Ana, has pleaded guilty to federal charges for his participation in a loan modification scam that defrauded homeowners.

Geuttsoyan is the third of several defendants who admitted to operating multiple California-based companies that promised to provide home loan modifications and other debt relief services to homeowners nationwide and charged them upfront fees.

He pleaded guilty to one felony count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and was ordered to pay $3 million in restitution.

The two other defendants, Mehdi Moarefian, a.k.a. “Michael Miller,” 36, and Daniel Shiau, a.k.a. “Scott Decker,” 30, already pleaded guilty to the same charge.

Read the original article in the OC Register.

Imprisoned Attorney Loses Suit, Must Pay Litigation Costs in Mortgage Fraud Case

February 12th, 2016 at 12:00pm

Attorney Mitchell Stein, already serving a 17-year prison sentence in Florida on multiple fraud, money laundering and conspiracy charges, has lost his case in which the State of California is seeking court costs.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Jane L. Johnson ruled that the mortgage fraud lawsuit filed by Attorney General Kamala Harris in 2011 against multiple entities entitled California to collect costs. Stein and other were accused of fraudulently taking millions of dollars from thousands of homeowners who thought they would receive help with their mortgages.

The case is The People of the State of California v. The Law Offices of Kramer and Kaslow PLC et al., case number LC094571, in the Superior Court of the State of California, County of Los Angeles.

Here is a press release about Mitchell J. Stein.

Read the original article in Law360.

Orange County Residents Arrested, Indicted in Connecticut for Loan Modification Fraud

February 5th, 2016 at 9:19am

Seven Orange County, California residents have been accused of running a boiler-room operation that targeted homeowners around the country in what prosecutors say was a loan modification scam.

The individuals indicted by a federal grand jury are as follows:

Aria Maleki, 33, Santa Ana;

Serj Geuttsoyan, aka Anthony Kirk, 33, Santa Ana;

Mehdi Moarefian, aka Michael Miller, 36, Irvine;

Daniel Shiau, aka Scott Decker, 30, Irvine;

Kowit Yuktanon, aka Eric Cannon, 31, Huntington Beach;

Michelle Lefaoseu, aka Michelle Bennett, 41, Huntington Beach; and

Cuong Huy King, aka James Nolan and Jimmy, 32, Westminster.

In addition to the arrests, federal agents seized $350,000 from bank accounts, $362,000 from a bitcoin account, a $100,000 cashier’s check and a 2013 Ferrari 458 Italia.

All seven are charged with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud; several of the defendants have additional charges filed against them.

Prosecutors believe that the defendants were cold-called and promised loan modifications if they paid upfront/advance fees of $2,500 to $4,300. They allegedly used false names, changed their business names and provided false and misleading documents to the homeowners indicating the latter would receive government help from Troubled Assets Relief Program and the Home Affordable Modification Program.

 

Read the original article in the OC Register.

Employee of Star Reliable Mortgage Pleads Not Guilty in Foreclosure Fraud Scheme

January 29th, 2016 at 11:56am

Martin Calzada, 28, a former employee for Star Reliable Mortgage has pleaded not guilty in federal court after being charged by the Department of Justice with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and mail fraud.

Calzada is accused of charging homeowners facing foreclosure upfront fees between $2,500 to $4,500 in what the feds call a “loan elimination” scheme. He and other employees are alleged to have filed phony documents with the County Recorder’s office, replacing the homeowners’ names with trusts linked to himself and the company. The homeowners/clients were also told to stop making their mortgage payments, resulting in foreclosure actions.

Read the original article in the Visalia Times-Delta.

© Copyright 2007-2016 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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