California Real Estate Fraud Report

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Archive for the 'Mortgage Fraud' Category

Long Beach Man Sentenced to Prison for Mortgage Fraud Scam

March 10th, 2017 at 12:49pm

Long Beach resident John Martynec, 41, has been sentenced to federal prison for two years for helping to run a scheme which cost lenders over $2.4 million.

Martynec,  a formerly licensed real estate broker and co-owner of JTR Real Estate Inc. in Norwalk, found homes that could be purchased and “flipped” after undergoing renovations. He and one of his real estate agents, Elek Andrade, would purchase the homes by using the personal information of individuals without the consent of those persons.

Andrade, 32, was sentenced to one year and one day, as was Mireya Espinoza, 36, for providing fraudulent supporting documents, such as employment verification.

“Schemes like this can destabilize the financial industry and the real estate market,” United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker said in a statement. “The last economic crisis demonstrates the dangers of such destabilization and the importance of prosecuting crimes like those committed by these defendants.”

U.S. District Judge Dale S. Fischer ordered the two men to pay $2,573,092 in restitution and Espinoza to pay $1,476,966 in restitution.

Read the original article in the Long Beach Post.

A Story about an Appraiser Who is One of the Good Guys

March 2nd, 2017 at 11:06am

This is an great human-interest story about Gary Crabtree, who has run an appraisal business in Kern County for 55 years.

In the course of his work in the first decade of this century, Crabtree uncovered a massive mortgage fraud and appraisal fraud scheme operated by the brokerage Crisp & Cole Real Estate and Tower Lending. There are many articles posted in the California Real Estate Fraud Report about David Crisp and Carl Cole and their employees.

You can read about Gary Crabtree‘s remarkable career in the Bakersfield Californian.

 

Former Roseville Real Estate Agent Sentenced to Prison for Forging Documents

March 2nd, 2017 at 10:54am

Alla Samchuk, 45, who was previously a licensed real estate agent, has been sentenced to nine years and six months in federal prison for mortgage fraud, identity theft and obstruction of justice. She was convicted last August.

According to prosecutors, from 2006 through 2008, Samchuk concocted a mortgage fraud involving two homes in Roseville and one in El Dorado Hills. Because she was unable to qualify for the loans, so she found straw buyers to apply for the loans in their own names. The applications contained false statements regarding income, employment and assets, including falsely representing that the straw buyers would occupy the homes.

Judge Garland Burrell Jr. of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California in Sacramento was the trial judge. He imposed the longer sentence because Samchuk had threatened a witness not to report her crimes.

You can read more about the history of the case by going to the U.S. Government Publishing Office.

Read the original article in the Sacramento Business Journal.

San Diego Woman Pleads Guilty to Defrauding Two Lenders after Witch Creek Fire

February 3rd, 2017 at 10:48am

The out-building adjacent to the home Deborah and Douglas Tumlinson owned in Ramona was destroyed in the Witch Creek fire that occurred in San Diego County’s back-country in October 2007.

Unlike the other victims who filed claims against San Diego Gas & Electric, which acknowledged that the fire stemmed from sparks from some of its equipment during high winds, the Tumlinsons took a different approach.

Deborah Tumlinson convinced the Tumlinson’s family friend and trust attorney, Carter Johnston, to write a letter to New Jersey-based lender, U.S. Claims, advising the lender that they would be receiving a $2.49 million settlement from the wildfire and would be paid within 30 days. Johnston, who was disbarred for his false representations to U.S. Claims, also stated falsely that he had represented the Tumlinsons in the settlement. As a result, U.S. Claims and its president Darryl Levine made a loan to them for over $700,000 to buy a new house.

The Tumlinsons failed to repay the loan and failed to repay a second loan they received from Seaside Funding, a Carlsbad mortgage broker, for the new home they falsely claimed would be a rental property.

Deborah Tumlinson pleaded guilty in May 2016 to aiding and abetting in a wire fraud scheme and was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Janis Sammartino  to a year and a day in prison. The judge noted how her actions had caused great suffering to others, namely Darryl Levine, who was forced to sell his business in 2014.

Douglas Tumlinson, who actually signed many of the documents, entered into a deferred prosecution agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, which dismissed the charges against him after his wife was sentenced.

Judge Sammartino ordered the couple to pay $1.8 million in restitution to U.S. Claims, although there is already a civil judgment against them, according to U.S. Claims attorney Pat Swan. Seaside Funding was made whole at the foreclosure auction.

Read the full article in the San Diego Tribune.

Read the press release of this case from the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of California. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher P. Tenorio.

Last Defendant in Central Valley Mortgage Fraud Case Pleads Guilty

January 27th, 2017 at 10:14am

Arthur Menefee, 56, a Stockton-based real estate agent, has pleaded guilty to wire fraud in a mortgage fraud scheme that involved at least 31 properties.

Menefee, who surrendered his real estate license to the California Bureau of Real Estate in 2013, was accused of recruiting friends and fellow church-goers to purchase properties. The lure was that Menefee took care of the mortgage payments or down-payments; the loan applications he prepared indicated the persons worked at a business that didn’t exist.

Five of Arthur Menefee‘s co-defendants have already pleaded guilty and have been sentenced as follows:

Jannice Riddick, 34, of Sacramento (two years and 11 months in prison);

Florence Francisco, 65, of Houston, Texas (one year in prison);

Adil Qayyum, 34, of Rosele, Illinois (three years of probation);

Elsie Pamela Fuller, 41, of Richmond (one year and nine months in prison); and,

Leona Yeargin, 49, of San Pablo (18 months in prison).

Two other defendants await sentencing after pleading guilty: Valeriy Vasilevitsky, and Ruth Willis

Read the original article in the Central Valley Business Times.

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.

 

CoreLogic Report Details New “Reverse Occupancy Scam”

January 20th, 2017 at 11:01am

A report from CoreLogic warns lenders that people committing mortgage fraud have reversed their traditional approach to one of a common scam: that of claiming they intend to take occupancy of a property in order to obtain a lower interest rate with lower fees and lower down-payment.

Under the new “reverse occupancy scheme”, the prospective home buyers tell lenders they’ll be renting out the home, though their actual intention is to occupy the property as their own home.

Willa Wei, an analyst at CoreLogic, said the buyers  are able to claim their “expected” rental income in order to satisfy the debt to income requirement of their mortgage application. The scheme is most common in cities where home prices and rents have appreciated. Leading the way is New York City, which has the highest reverse occupancy risk, followed by Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas and Houston.

CoreLogic has created a map of the cities that have the highest risk of reverse occupancy fraud. Click on this link to see the map.

Long Beach Man Sentenced for “Stay In Your Home Today” Mortgage Fraud

December 6th, 2016 at 8:37am

Long Beach resident Karl Robinson, 52, was sentenced to four years in federal prison after pleading guilty in August to one count of bankruptcy fraud.

Prosecutors had accused Robinson of operating a five-year scheme under his own name and companies he created such as “Stay In Your Home Today,” “21st Century Development” and “Genesis Ventures Corporation.” He purportedly brought in close to $3 million from the distressed homeowners who fell for his scam, which included false promises by Robinson that he could save their homes.

As part of the scheme, Robinson filed falsified grant deeds with county recorders and other fake documents in state court eviction proceedings to make it appear that fictional debtors held interests in the distressed properties. In a plea agreement, Robinson admitted that he misused notary stamps of other individuals in order to fake signatures on legal documents (notary fraud) and that he charged distressed homeowners additional fees if they wanted to unwind fake filings.

“This scheme was never about providing assistance to distressed homeowners,” said U.S. Attorney Eileen M. Decker said in a statement. “It was about lying to distressed homeowners and collecting fees based on false promises. This defendant abused the bankruptcy system and stole identities to perpetrate his fraudulent scheme.”

The case against Robinson was prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorney Kerry L. Quinn of the Major Frauds Section.

Rocklin Man Pleads Guilty in Mortgage Fraud Involving 31 Properties

November 18th, 2016 at 10:01am

Aleksandr Kovalev, 53, has pleaded guilty in federal court to wire fraud involving financial institutions.

Kovalev, a developer was in the Sacramento, Fairfield and Stockton areas, had been accused of making incentive payments to home buyers through “down payment assistance.” This was done outside of escrow and was not disclosed to the lenders, who were not aware that the effect was to substantially reduce the actual sales price.

Already, five of Aleksandr Kovalev’s co-defendants have pleaded guilty and have been sentenced. They are Jannice Riddick, 34, of Sacramento, two years and 11 months in prison; Florence Francisco, 65, of Houston, one year in prison; Adil Qayyum, 34, of Rosele Ill., three years of probation; Elsie Pamela Fuller, 41, of Richmond, one year and nine months in prison; and Leona Yeargin, 49, of San Pablo, 18 months in prison.

Valeriy Vasilevitsky and Ruth Willis have also pleaded guilty and await sentencing.

The case resulted from an investigation by the FBI and the Internal Revenue Service.

Read the original article in the Sacramento Bee.

Rancho Cucamonga Man Who Fraudulently Sold Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Properties Sentenced

November 11th, 2016 at 12:25pm

Mazen Alzoubi, 33, a real estate investor who authorities described as being the ringleader of a Southern California scheme that defrauded banks and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac was sentenced in San Diego federal court Monday to six years, three months in prison.

According to prosecutors in the U.S. Attorneys Office for the Southern District of California, Alzoubi stole home titles from the rightful corporate owners and then sold them to unsuspecting buyers (title fraud). He did this by forging documents to make it seem the properties had been sold to one of his businesses and then he recorded the bogus documents at various county recorders’ offices, “earning” $2.2 million from the mortgage fraud.

Alzoubi pleaded guilty in January to five counts including conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, aggravated identity theft and conspiracy to launder money.

“The strength of our housing market and public confidence in our economy depends on strong enforcement efforts to root out schemes like this,” U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy said in a statement. “The lengthy sentence in this case is a loud, clear message to anyone inclined to prey on the fallout from the devastating economic meltdown.”

Read the original article in the San Diego Tribune.

 

© 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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