California Real Estate Fraud Report

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Archive for the 'Foreclosure fraud' Category

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.

October 13th, 2016 at 9:32am

Nancy Russell Kempis, 64, of Santa Clara, has been sentenced for more than six-months in jail for scamming a family out of their home and defrauding four banks.

The former real estate agent  convinced the family to sell her their home at a “dramatically reduced price” in order to avoid foreclosure. She rented them the home and promised to return it. Instead, she secured a number of fraudulent mortgages, sucking all the equity out of the house and defaulting between 2006 and 2009. The home was then lost to foreclosure and the family evicted.

Kempis’ scam cost lenders $750,000.

Kempis eventually fled to New York, went into hiding under the false name Morpheus Daw Pud Ko and helped run a women’s ministry.

“Ms. Kempis scammed hundreds of thousands of dollars and drove a family into homelessness,” Santa Clara County Deputy District Attorney Charles Huang said in a statement.

Read the original article in KRON4.com

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.

Florida Real Estate Agent Being Prosecuted for Bankruptcy Fraud, Short Sale Fraud

September 22nd, 2016 at 7:34pm

Reafael Sanchez, an Orange County, Florida real estate agent, is facing charges after federal prosecutors said he devised a short sale fraud scheme.

Sanchez is alleged to have concocted a  scheme to help owners in foreclosure to file fraudulent bankruptcy paperwork. The bankruptcy stays would possibly give Sanchez enough time to conduct a short sale of the properties and earn himself a commission.

Federal prosecutors, though, said that over a two-year period, Sanchez collected money and assisted at least 30 homeowners facing foreclosure in filing fraudulent bankruptcies. All of the bankruptcies he helped his clients file were dismissed in 14 or 15 days, according to bankruptcy attorney Scott Shuker.

Sanchez, who faces up to five years in prison, has agreed to make a plea in the case, but a date hasn’t been set.

Read the original article in WFTV Orlando.

Long Beach Pastor Admits to Mortgage Fraud

September 2nd, 2016 at 10:34am

Long Beach pastor Karl Robinson, 52, has pleaded guilty to one count of bankruptcy fraud.

According to the press release by the U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California, Robinson would stall the evictions of homeowners who had been foreclosed on by filing fraudulent documents, including phony bankruptcy petitions. For this, he charged the homeowners almost $3 million.

“This defendant filed scores of fraudulent bankruptcy actions — sometimes on multiple occasions in relation to a single property,” U.S. Attorney Eileen M. Decker said in a statement. “He took advantage of distressed homeowners by stealing identities and lying to them about what he could do for their properties as long as they continued to pay his fees.”

You can read another article about Pastor Robinson’s mortgage fraud in the Long Beach Press Telegram.

Aliso Viejo Man Pleads Guilty in Mortgage Modification Fraud

July 28th, 2016 at 5:33am

Aliso Viejo resident Charles Wayne Farris, 55, has pleaded guilty to federal fraud charges for his role as a sales manager in a mortgage modification fraud case that cost 1,500 people almost $9 million.

Farris’  co-conspirator, former attorney Ronald Rodis, had  previously pleaded guilty to a felony conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud. A third defendant, Bryan D’Antonio, still awaits his turn at trial for nine counts of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

According to prosecutors, both Rodis Law Group and America’s Law Group used nationwide radio advertisements to portray themselves as a team of experienced attorneys that could negotiated lower-interests rates or principal balances.

“The defendants in this case preyed upon vulnerable homeowners facing the loss of their home and callously took advantage of what hope they had left,” said Deirdre L. Fike, assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office, in a statement last week.

Read the original article in the OC Register.

Aliso Viejo Man Pleads Guilty in Scheme to Rip Off Struggling Homeowners

July 22nd, 2016 at 5:07am

The U.S. Department of Justice announced that Orange County, California, resident Charles Wayne Farris has pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Santa Ana, California, for his role as the sales manager of a multi-million dollar fraudulent mortgage modification scheme.

Farris, 55, of Aliso Viejo, California, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Court Judge David O. Carter for the Central District of California to one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud for his crimes, which occurred between October 2008 and June 2009.

Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Benjamin C. Mizer, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division, said “This defendant supervised dozens of telemarketers who used lies and false promises to take money from struggling homeowners for a worthless service. We will continue to prosecute all kinds of mass-marketing and telemarketing fraud schemes, especially those that prey on vulnerable victims.”

Added U.S. Attorney Eileen Decker of the Central District of California, “This defendant managed an entire team of people whose sole job was to lure struggling home owners into the fraud scheme. It is because of Mr. Farris that so many people were victimized for so much money.”

Farris acknowledged that he participated in a scheme that sought to convince homeowners to pay between $3,500 and $5,500 for the services of the Rodis Law Group (RLG) and a successor entity, America’s Law Group (ALG).  RLG and ALG

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 2007-2016 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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