California Real Estate Fraud Report

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Archive for the 'Loan Modification Fraud' Category

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

 

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.

Woman Sentenced to 18 Years for Loan Modification Scheme with 4,000 Victims

December 11th, 2015 at 12:46pm

Andrea Ramirez, a 47-year old woman who prosecutors accused of being the “organizer” of a phony loan modification firm, has been sentenced to 18 years in federal prison.

One of Ramirez’ employees, Crystal Taiwana Buck, 40, of Long Beach, was also sentenced to five years in prison for convincing numerous victims to pay fees to 21st Century Services, Inc. for what were non-existent loan modifications.

“This fraudulent company purposely targeted homeowners who were extremely vulnerable because they were facing foreclosure,” said United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker in a statement. “Ramirez and her co-defendants made false promises to desperate homeowners, often took the last of their money and then abandoned them. Her contempt for her victims will put her in federal prison for nearly two decades.”

“As the ringleader in a scheme to dupe thousands of distressed homeowners out of their last dollar at the height of the financial crisis, Andrea Ramirez earned the next 18 years in federal prison, which she should use to reflect on her victims,” said Christy Goldsmith Romero, Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP) in a statement.

United States District Judge Virginia A. Phillips also ordered Ramirez to pay $6,764,743 in restitution.

Below are sentences for the other defendants:

  • Albert DiRoberto, 62, of Fullerton, who handled both sales and marketing – which included making a commercial for 21st Century – was sentenced to five years in prison.
  • Yadira Garcia Padilla, 38, of Rancho Cucamonga – who, among other things, posted bogus positive reviews about 21st Century on the Internet – was sentenced to four years in prison.
  • Michael Bruce Bates, of Moreno Valley, was sentenced to one year and one day in prison.
  • Michael Lewis Parker, of Pomona, was sentenced to six years in prison.
  • Catalina Deleon, of Glendora, is scheduled to be sentenced on December 14.
  • Hamid Reza Shalviri, of Montebello, is scheduled to be sentenced on Thursday, December 10.
  • Mindy Sue Holt, of San Bernardino, was sentenced to 18 months in prison.
  • Iris Melissa Pelayo, of Upland, was sentenced to four years in prison.

Read the original article in the Long Beach Post.

 

Time runs out for Roseville couple that targeted Hispanic families in loan modification fraud

November 13th, 2015 at 11:14am

A federal judge sentenced Martin Wayne Flanders, 51, to six years and five months in prison after Flanders pleaded guilty to committing mail fraud. His wife, Ligia Sandoval Spafford (Sandoval), 48, also pleaded guilty and will be sentenced in March 2016.

According to the office of U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wagner of the Eastern District of California, the couple ran a company called European Debt Resolution, Inc., that targeted Hispanic families in the Bay Area and Sacramento, charging them illegal advance fees for loan modifications, mortgage loan audits, credit repair, debt relief and bankruptcy filings. They advertised on Spanish language radio, television and magazines in order to find their clients and did not perform the services they promised.

Read the original article in the Roseville and Granite Bay Press Tribune.

 

Seal Beach man pleads guilty to mortgage rescue fraud

October 22nd, 2015 at 2:56pm

Terry Meisinger, 74, pleaded guilty last week to two counts of wire fraud, admitting he defrauded a distressed homeowner by inducing him to sign a quitclaim. The quitclaim was purportedly in exchange for promises  by Meisinger that he would negotiate a short-sale agreement with the victim’s lender for a property located in North Las Vegas.

According to his please agreement, Meisinger instead recorded a deed of trust on the property, which was followed by a fraudulent bankruptcy on behalf of the person who supposedly now held an interest in the home. During the period of the bankruptcy stay, he rented the home to another person.

Meisinger admitted repeating “the process of causing the recording of deeds of trusts in the names of various beneficiaries whose identities he controlled and causing the filing of bankruptcies on behalf of those lenders to delay the foreclosure proceedings, while collecting rents.” Between 1999-2014, he “earned” over $1.5 million on his scheme, which involved approximately 150 properties and at least 50 victims, which included the borrowers/owners, lenders and tenants.

The prosecution of Terry Meisinger resulted from an investigation by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of the Inspector General (HUD-OIG).

Read the original article in the Press-Telegram.

© 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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