California Real Estate Fraud Report

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Archive for the 'Mortgage Fraud' Category

Bay Area Man Sentenced to 15 Prison in Short Sale Fraud Scam

August 18th, 2017 at 10:24am

Mahendra Prasad, 55, pleaded guilty on May 22, to one count of mail fraud affecting a financial institution in connection with a fraudulent short sale (short sale fraud), according to a Justice Department press release. On August 14, U.S. District Judge Lawrence J. O’Neill sentenced him to 15 months in prison and ordered him to pay $328,000 in restitution to the lending institution that was defrauded.

According to court documents, in 2006, Prasad allegedly submitted falsified documentation to a lender so that he could purchase a property in Sacramento. Following the purchase, he rented the property as Section 8 housing.

In 2013, Prasad completed a short sale of the property to another person, claiming that the sale was “arm’s length, which was a requirement of the lender.

His co-defendants Jyoteshna Karan, Praveen Singh, Sunita Singh and Nani Isaac are going to trial in U.S. District Court in Fresno, on Dec. 11.

Read the original article in News India Times.

Wells Fargo Pays Out Again, This Time For Fraudulent Anti-Veteran Lending Practices

August 18th, 2017 at 9:08am

Banking giant Wells Fargo must pay over $100 million to settle allegations of fraud that included overcharging military veterans using the VA Home Loan to refinance their mortgages. The victims were not only veterans but U.S. taxpayers.

Brokers Victor Bibby and Brian Donnelly were the two whistleblowers in the lawsuit who sought to recover the losses that the federal government suffered when the loans it guaranteed loans defaulted. The two men sued Wells Fargo and seven other lenders to recoup losses; notably the federal government declined to join the qui tam lawsuit, which was filed under the federal False Claims Act, aka Lincoln’s Law (31 USC §§ 3729-3733.

The other banks are Bank of America Corp (BAC.N), Citigroup Inc (C.N), First Tennessee, JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N), PNC Financial Services Group Inc (PNC.N) and SunTrust Banks Inc (STI.N). The total pay-out is $161.7 million.

Depending on whether the federal government offers to assist, the private person can receive a portion of the recovered damages, from 10% to 30%. If the government intervenes, the person bringing the lawsuit, the “relator”, receives between 15%-25%. If the government does not, the relator receives between 25%-30%. If the government intervenes and most of the information is already public, the relator is only entitled to 10%.

Read the full article, including Wells Fargo’s boilerplate “apology,” in DisabledVeterans.org

Attorney General Becerra Urges US Senate to Keep Rule That Holds Corporations Accountable

July 28th, 2017 at 8:55am

The following is a press release:

SACRAMENTO California Attorney General Xavier Becerra today urged the U.S. Senate to support a rule that allows people to pursue justice against financial services companies. The rule — known as the Arbitration Rule — was issued by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on July 10, but is already under attack in Congress. Specifically, Senate Republicans have filed a Joint Resolution for Disapproval in order to repeal the Arbitration Rule. In a letter to U.S. Senate leaders, Attorney General Becerra and 19 attorneys general underscored that the Arbitration Rule would provide relief to hardworking Americans who were previously prohibited from joining class action lawsuits or even going to court at all. As opposed to costly individual arbitrations, class action lawsuits are often the only realistic way for consumers to hold these companies accountable.

“The Arbitration Rule is one tool that helps protect consumers and hold corporations accountable,” said Attorney General Becerra. “It allows people to seek justice when financial services companies break the law. But some in Congress continue to do the bidding of Wall Street instead of Main Street and want to gut this rule. Senators should stand up for consumers instead of corporate interests.”

In recent years, when opening a bank account or obtaining a credit card, consumers have been forced to agree that they will not bring or join a class action lawsuit. In short, this means that they could only hold these corporations accountable through individual arbitration, which is a costly endeavor. Thanks to the Arbitration Rule, that is no longer the case.

“While the financial services industry promotes arbitration, the truth is that most of their consumers can’t afford it. When financial services companies require their customers to use individual arbitration to address their complaints or disputes, most consumers simply lack the time and resources to arbitrate a dispute on their own or to hire an attorney to file a claim on their behalf. This is especially true where consumers have been defrauded out of small amounts of money. In the words of Judge Richard Posner of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, ‘only a lunatic or a fanatic sues for $30.’ If consumers cannot join class actions, the result is “not 17 million individual suits, but zero individual suits.’” write the attorneys general in the letter. 

A copy of the letter is attached to the electronic version of this release at oag.ca.gov/news.

Three Men in Bakersfield Sentenced for Running Foreclosure Rescue Scam

July 25th, 2017 at 9:58am

A federal judge in Fresno sentenced three men to prison for operating a foreclosure rescue scam in Bakersfield and two other California cities.

Norwalk resident Martin Calzada, 30, received nine years; Juan Curiel, 38, of Visalia, received three years and five months; and Santiago Palacios-Hernandez, 48, of Salinas was sentenced to two years and nine months.

In addition, all three were ordered to pay over $1.1 million in restitution to their victims and federal mortgage lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Read the entire article in the Kern Golden Empire.

Lafayette Real Estate Agent Pleads Guilty to Wire Fraud, Money Laundering

July 25th, 2017 at 9:42am

Real estate agent Robert Jacobsen, 69, pleaded guilty Wednesday to federal charges related to a complex scheme in which he fraudulently obtained the title to homes (title fraud) and then resold them at market prices.

Federal prosecutors said that Jacobsen pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud and one count of money laundering by setting up “sham companies” and lawsuits to falsely make it appear that mortgage liens connected to two homes were invalidated.

“Jacobsen admitted that two homes that were the subjects of such lawsuits were in Danville, Calif., and San Francisco, Calif.  Jacobsen admitted that, after obtaining fraudulent judgments, he sold the Danville home for $540,000 and the San Francisco home for $1.2 million.  Jacobsen admitted that in both cases, his representations regarding the fraudulent court judgments had a natural tendency to influence the buyers to purchase the homes.”

Read the press release by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California.

Mortgage Modification Fraud Gets Long Prison Sentences for 3 Orange County Residents

July 25th, 2017 at 9:27am

Three Orange County residents received long prison sentences for conning over 3,000 homeowners nationwide in an $11 million mortgage modification scam.

Sammy Araya, 41, the mastermind, received 20 years, while his co-defendants Michael Henderson, 49, received 12 years, and Jen Seko, 36, got 7 years.

“For Sammy Araya, Michael Henderson and Jen Seko, the financial struggles of more than 3,000 homeowners were an opportunity for theft,” said Christy Goldsmith Romero, the Special Inspector General for SIGTARP, in a statement.

Nine other Orange County and Las Vegas residents previously pleaded guilty for their participation in this mortgage modification fraud and also were sentenced to stiff prison terms.

Crime Didn’t Pay for This Short Sale Fraud in Florida

July 20th, 2017 at 4:04pm

Casey Padula, a Charlotte County businessman, received a sentence of nearly five years in prison on charges of conspiring to commit tax and bank fraud.

In addition to transferring almost $2.5 million from Demandblox Inc., his marketing business to offshore accounts in Belize, Padula, 48, committed short sale fraud. He sent a letter to his lender Bank of America saying he could no longer afford his $1.5-million Port Charlotte home. Investigators say Padula gave Robert Robinson, 43, money from Padula’s Belize accounts to “buy” Padula’s home in a short sale at the sweet price of $625,000. Two months after the short sale closed, Robinson transferred title back to Padula for $1.

Lucky Robert Robinson only received five years of probation for his role in defrauding Bank of America.

Casey Padula was ordered to pay a $100,000 fine, restitution of $728,609 to the IRS and $739,459.90 to Bank of America.

Read the original article in NBC2 News.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Must Be Saved

July 11th, 2017 at 8:37am

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), created as part of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, is one of the few federal agencies that exists to protect We ThePeople against predatory, misleading and fraudulent practices financial institutions have used to steal from us.

One of the CFPB‘s most recent accomplishments was to fine Wells Fargo $185 million and force it to return fees it had unlawfully charged its customers. This was in conjunction with a lawsuit filed against Wells Fargo by the Los Angeles City Attorney.

The current Administration and Republicans in Congress are openly trying to shut down the CFPB and go back to the “good old days” of no regulation of the financial sector.

Read this interesting article called “Why We Need to Save the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.”

Sacramento Loan Processor Sentenced for Participation in Widespread Mortgage Fraud

July 7th, 2017 at 11:08am

Loan processor Sergey Shchirskiy, 41, has been sentenced to seven years and 10 months in prison for his role in a mortgage fraud conspiracy that caused losses of $2.7 million to lenders.

Shchirskiy was the target of a joint investigation by the FBI and IRS for white-collar crimes that began as early as 2007. According to U.S. Deputy District Attorney Phillip A. Talbert, Shchirskiy’s role was to recruit straw buyers and to prepare fraudulent loan applications for the straw buyers. He and his 15 co-conspirators took out equity lines of credit and all the properties were foreclosed.

U.S. District Judge Troy Nunley imposed sentence.

Read the press release from the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of California.

 

Prospect Mortgage to Pay $4.157 million in Penalties to Resolve Fraud Allegations

July 7th, 2017 at 10:55am

Prospect Mortgage Company is set to pay a penalty of $4.157 million to resolve claims by several attorneys general that it committed mortgage fraud while participating in the government’s Direct Lender Endorsement Program.

According to federal prosecutors, Prospect Mortgage defrauded the government during and after the run-up to the housing crisis through its participation in the Direct Endorsement program, which the feds claim cost taxpayers millions.

The program is administered by the Federal Housing Administration and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. As a DE lender, Prospect was able to originate, underwrite and endorse mortgages for FHA insurance. But the U.S. Justice Department alleged that Prospect falsely certified that the FHA-insured loans it had originated complied with critical quality-control requirements, when they did not.

Prospect Mortgage sold its operating assets to HomeBridge Financial in February 2017.

Read the original article in Mortgage Professional America.

© 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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