California Real Estate Fraud Report

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Archive for the 'Loan Fraud' Category

Owner of All Ways Financial Services Goes to Prison for Mortgage Fraud

February 27th, 2013 at 11:52am

Cynthia Suratos Lorica, a Hayward woman, is off to prison after preading guilty to mortgage fraud and tax evasion.

Lorica, 51, also was ordered by Chief U.S. District Court Judge Claudia Wilken to pay more than $1 million in restitution, according to U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag.

Under the plea deal, Lorica, who was the owner and CEO of  All Ways Financial Services Inc., admitted she schemed to obtain money from Washington Mutual Bank in 2006 and 2007 by making false statements in her loan applications (loan fraud). At the same time she was an officer of Absolute Value Financial Inc., also a financial services company.

Read the original article in the Mercury News.

Justice Grinds Slow but Long Beach Mortgage Sales Rep Gets Prison Time

February 27th, 2013 at 8:48am

I’m curious when the crimes detailed in this posting came to the attention of the feds.

Joel Blanford, a 44-year old sales rep found guilty of mortgage fraud by a jury, is off to prison after United States District Judge William B. Shubb sentenced him to 30 months plus three years of supervised release.

Blanford was formerly a senior sales representative for Long Beach Mortgage, a wholesale subprime lender and former subsidiary of Washington Mutual Inc . Between April 2003 through October 2005, he was found to have conspired with a loan coordinator, whom he bribed, to provide false information regarding the borrowers’ employment or professional licensing standing, falsify financial documents and to overlook misrepresentations (loan fraud) by the borrowers. Blanford, who was compensated based on the volume of loans processed, earned more than $1 million in commissions and other benefits from Long Beach Mortgage.

The original article, published in 7th Space, does not detail how Joel Blanford was caught, nor does it name the loan coordinator or mention whether that person was prosecuted.

The Blanford case was the product of an investigation by the FBI, Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force (FinCEN) and the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CID) and was prosecuted by the office of U.S. Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner.  The prosecutors were Assistant United States Attorneys Paul A. Hemesath and Michael M. Beckwith.

Sad End for Thousand Oaks Woman Who Plead Guilty to Mortgage Fraud

February 15th, 2013 at 9:26am

Sonya “Cheri” Tucker, a  former Thousand Oaks woman who along with her husband Terrance “Terry” Tucker pleaded guilty in a mortgage fraud scheme, has died in prison.

Cheri Tucker, 68, and Terry Tucker were each given 10 year sentences in 2009 after they pleaded guilty to bank fraud. They ran Tucker Mortgage in Thousand Oaks and San Diego and used their business to falsify loan documents submitted to banks (loan fraud) for the purchase of homes. Many of the homes were lost to foreclosure. In the meantime, the fraudulent paperwork scheme brought in over $31 million to the Tuckers in the form of loan brokerage fees, real estate commissions and fees assessed to investors. The investors were friends from the Tuckers’ church, none of whom were apparently aware of how their investment money was being misused.

The case was investigated first the the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office and then by the Secret Service.

You can search the California Real Estate Fraud Report for earlier articles on Cheri Tucker.

Read the original article in the Ventura County Star.

Elk Grove Real Estate Broker Found Guilty in Mortgage Fraud

January 23rd, 2013 at 7:37pm

Hoda Samuel, a (still) licensed real estate broker and the owner of Liberty Real Estate & Investment Co., has been found of a conspiracy to commit mortgage fraud, as well as 30 counts of mail fraud.

Prosecutors apparently proved to the jury that Samuel, 60,  acted as the broker on 30 transactions between April 2006 and February 2007, which defrauded lending institutions due to the file of false information on the loan applications (loan fraud, mortgage fraud). Samuel kept tight control of the transactions by representing both the seller and buyer (dual agency) in about have the sales and obtaining funding in all but one. Unfortunately for the lenders, 28 of the 30 properties went into foreclosure, causing losses to the lending institutions of over $5.5 million. The straw buyers were the employees of her brokerage and other persons.

In a decidedly unique angle, Samuel overstated the values of the homes from $15,000 to $40,000 (appraisal fraud) in order to pay for “repairs” to the homes that included making homes wheelchair accessible for (non-existent) family members of the buyers.

When she is sentenced on April 30, Hoda Samuel could get up to 20 years in prison.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Philip Ferrari and Todd Pickles out of the Eastern District of California and by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the IRS-Criminal Investigation Unit.

Read the original articles in News10 ABC and the Sacramento Business Journal.

Multi-Agency Task Force Arrests Five in Orange County Condo Real Estate Fraud

January 18th, 2013 at 11:51am

Special agents with the FBI, the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s Office of Inspector General (HUD-OIG), and IRS-Criminal Investigation arrested five people who were alleged to have orchestrated a “builder bailout” scam involving over 100 condominium properties around the country after a federal indictment charged them with various counts of bank fraud and wire fraud.

According to an FBI press release, the scheme, which was operated out of Excel Investments and related companies that were based in Irvine and then Santa Ana, allegedly targeted new condominium developments which the defendants identified the builders as having trouble selling the units. The defendants entered into agreements with the builders, whose project were located in California, Arizona and Florida, and agreed to buy the units in exchange for large commissions. They recruited the straw buyers and fabricated the loan applications (loan fraud, mortgage fraud) by submitting altered or fraudulent W-2 forms, income and asset statements. The lenders were not aware of the excessive commissions because they were disguised as “marketing fees” which were concealed in the form of false HUD-1 Settlement statements by the defendants.

The five defendants who were arrested and taken into custody are as follows:

  • Aref Abaji, 31, of Aliso Viejo, a real estate agent
  • Maher Obagi, 26, of Huntington Beach, the brother of Aref Abaji
  • Jacqueline Burchell, 52, of Orange, an escrow agent
  • Mohamed Salah, 37, of Mission Viejo
  • Mohamed El Tahir, 35, of Glen Burnie, Maryland

Many of the loans obviously went into default and there were subsequent foreclosures. The taxpayer is the ultimate loser because of the $6.2 million in losses suffered, $2.37 million were loans backed by Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac) and the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae).

Defendant Jackie Burchell was named in a previous post on the California Real Estate Fraud Report in June 2012 in which the FBI was investigating cases of short sale fraud in Los Angeles and Orange Counties.

Defendant Angie Cachu in California City Real Estate Fraud Sentenced

January 18th, 2013 at 11:21am

A complex real estate fraud scheme in California City that was investigated starting in November 2008 ended when the last defendant was sentenced to jail.

Angie Cachu, 45, received a one year sentence from Kern County Superior Court Judge Colette M. Humphrey along with five years’ felony probation. The prosecutor, Gordon Isen, was satisfied with the sentence and said Cachu deserved it because she had been uncooperative and lied aobut her active role in the conspiracy.

The case began when California City police received a report of an identity theft. The case expanded greatly and led investigators to a ring of conspirators who used straw buyers to purchase $2.7 million of newly-built homes using fraudulent loan applications (loan fraud, mortgage fraud, notary fraud) and inflated appraisals (appraisal fraud) in order to enrich themselves.

The other defendants pleaded no contest to various crimes and were sentenced as follows:

Appraiser Nathaniel Acree of Long Beach: two years in prison

Broker Jay Langner, of San Juan Capistrano: four years in prison. Jay Langner’s license with the California Department of Real Estate (DRE) is still in good standing as of this writing.

Khalid Malik Abdul Ali, of California City: five years in prison

Notary Elizabeth Torres, of Santa Ana: 10 days in jail.

Read the original article in the Bakersfield Californian.

3 Men Sent to Prison in Santa Maria Mortgage Fraud Scheme

December 21st, 2012 at 11:00am

According to a press release from the FBI, three men who thought they could get away with mortgage fraud didn’t and are now on their way to prison, thanks to the Santa Maria Resident Agency of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Brian Armet, 36, who owned and operated Custom House Home Loans (CHHL), a Santa Maria real estate mortgage company, pleaded guilty in July 2001 to conspiracy to defraud lenders and was sentenced to one year and one day in prison.

Rigoberto Hernandez, 37, and Julio Tamayo, 42, both from Santa Maria pleaded guilty to mortgage fraud charges and were sentenced to eight months and six months in prison respectively.

The three men must pay $2.4 million in restitution to the lenders they defrauded, per United States District Judge John F. Walter, who also sentenced them. The lending institutions were Homecoming Financial, Freddie Mac, Bank of America, and Carrington Mortgage Company.

FBI Arrests Two Men for Accepting Bribes on Fraudulent Loan Applications

December 17th, 2012 at 10:31am
Swift work by FBI agents in Southern California has resulted in the arrests of Tony Phan of Little Saigon and Troy Chattariyangkul of Los Angeles County for accepting bribes on falsified loan applications (loan fraud) while they were employed at Homecomings Financial in 2007-2008.

Phan, 35, works as a senior underwriter at Stearns Lending, Inc. in Santa Ana. Chattariyangkul, 34, is a USC graduate who worked first at Homecomings Financial, where Phan once worked. Another alleged co-conspirator, Chang Park, was a co-worker of Phan and Chattariyangkul, where the latter two are allged to have taken bribes to overlook fraudulent loan applicaitons.
 
According to court filings, Park eventually joined George Zevada, who owned and operated Silverline Mortgage Pasadena, where they are alleged to have targeted the Seeno Homes and Discovery Homes in Northern California.
 
Park was arrested last August and explained how the scheme worked to the FBI agent, including providing supporting documentation. Among other information he provided was that George Zevada allegedly used a CPA named Miguel Arenas Sr. and his Miro Accounting firm to forge pay stubs of prospective buyers.
 
All four men appear to have ignored the common-sense rule to not conduct allegedly illegal business via email, which helped the FBI build its case against them and spur the arrests.
 
Read the original article in the OC Weekly.
 

Wisconsin Man Indicted for Mortgage Fraud, Short Sale Fraud

December 17th, 2012 at 9:41am

If anybody is wondering why the California Real Estate Fraud Report is publishing arrests and indictments in other states that involve short sale fraud, it is because I believe that in California, where short sale fraud is rampant, prosecutors are for the most part too timid to jump into this fray. The result is that the crime of short sale fraud is even more pervasive, thanks to prosecutorial timidity reluctance. I cannot leave out the resistance by bankers to report this crime for prosecution, which is a large part of the problem. This only emboldens the commission of this crime that threatens neighbors’ equity, the property tax base, the IRS and our economy-at-large.

Randez Long, a Milwaukee, Wisconsin man, has been indicted for his role in an alleged mortgage fraudshort sale fraud scheme, which included his mother and sister.

From 2005 until April 2008, Long is alleged to have used his multiple businesses to con banks and other lenders into approving loans that contained false, fraudulent information from the prospective borrowers (loan fraud, mortgage fraud). Long’s businesses included LM Management, LLC; RL & DL Properties, LLC; RA & BB Properties, LLC; SC & Long Properties, LLC; R & B Mortgage, LLC; Long and Reed Property Management, LLC; and Long Management, LLC. See a copy of the indictment. Two of the named banks were Countrywide Bank and Southport Bank .

The purchasers are alleged to have made few payments, pushing the properties very quickly into foreclosure. Randez Long then arranged with the lenders to do short sales but instead sold the properties to new buyers than the approved short sale listing prices by the lenders. In the meantime, he managed to receive new loans from different lenders, again using false documents, and skimmed the profits, earning a tidy $1 million for himself.

The prosecuting agency is the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, headed by James. L. Santelle.

Here are the properties alleged to be part of his scam;

3132 North 25th Street, Milwaukee, Wisconsin;

3442 North 12th Street, Milwaukee, Wisconsin;

2310 West Keefe Avenue, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Read the original article in the Mortgage Fraud Blog.

San Francisco Man Sentenced to 12 Years for Mortgage Fraud

December 17th, 2012 at 9:16am

Sergio Gutierrez, a 49-year-old San Francisco businessman, has been setenced by U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White to 12 years in federal prison for a mortgage fraud scam that targeted Spanish-speaking borrowers (affinity fraud, ethnic fraud).

Gutierrez sought our Latinos in 2008 and 2009 and promised them that in exchange for a fee he could write-up documents that would prove their mortgages were invalid and that they did not have to pay off their loans. Predictably, most of the persons who signed up for Gutierrez’ service lost their homes. Apparently, none of these people was able to reason that if their mortgages were invalid, so was their right to stay in a home that they couldn’t possibly own. Dumb meets crooked.

 U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White sentenced Gutierrez to a longer term than that requested by prosecutors and ordered him to pay restitution to his “victims.”

 Read the original article in the San Francisco Chronicle / SFGate.

© 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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