July 1st, 2016 at 11:28am
Fair Oaks home developer Mark Allen has been sentenced to 18 months in prison for a prosecution involving mortgage fraud.
Allen, 51, enticed people to buy houses he was building by paying them money. He and his company, Allen Development LLC, did not disclose the payments to the lenders. The prices of the homes were based on artificially high sales prices and the lending institutions ultimately lost over $1 million.
Read the original article in the Sacramento Business Journal.
June 17th, 2016 at 9:36am
Yorba Linda chiropractor Bobby Hamby has received a sentence of four years in prison for stealing over $2 million from investors.
Hamby, 56, who pleaded guilty in 2015 to two counts of wire fraud, must also pay more than $1.2 million in restitution to his victims.
Hamby’s business was called B+E Family Investments LLC. According to prosecutors, he solicited money from his victims, promising them he would buy and improve properties and resell them at a profit. Instead, he used the victims’ monies to pay his mortgage, dues at the Yorba Linda Country Club dues, car payments, attorney fees, medical and dental bills and other personal expenses.
Read the original article in the OC Register.
May 20th, 2016 at 10:14am
Coronado businessman Courtland Gettel and Arizona attorney Jeffrey Greenberg have pleaded guilty to raking in over $33.6 million by taking out fraudulent loans on expensive homes in Del Mar and La Jolla, according to federal prosecutors.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s office in San Diego, Gettel, 42, and Greenberg, 66, took out loans against as many as eight homes by then pretending previous loans had been paid off in order to secure more loans from new lenders. The new lenders were tricked by forged loan reconveyances that indicated that the homes were lien-free and then recorded the fraudulent documents at the San Diego County Recorder’s Office (title fraud). Because title was clouded as a result, when the men defaulted on the loans, there was confusion as to the secured interests of the lenders in the properties.
The names of the firms run by Courtland Gettel were Conix, Inc. and Variant Commercial Real Estate — VCRE.
Read the original article in the Coronado Patch.
May 12th, 2016 at 10:51am
Geana Or, a real estate agent from Lathrop, in San Joaquin County, has been arrested on suspicion of grand theft and elder abuse. Or, 46, who also uses the name Geana Lay.
Or / Lay will face prosecution in Santa Clara County by the Real Estate Fraud Unit with the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office.
Investigators found out about the alleged fraud after a 73-year-old Los Altos Hills resident reported that he was approached by his real-estate agent last year and proposed that he purchase two homes that were “supposedly approaching foreclosure” with the intent of flipping them for higher value in the future. Between January and March 2015, the agent, since identified as Or, convinced him to write 10 cashier’s checks in her name, totaling about $475,000.
Read the original article in Mercury News.
May 12th, 2016 at 10:38am
Ventura County District Attorney Gregory D. Totten announced that Gregoria Mendoza, a former mortgage broker, has pleaded guilty to multiple counts of felony grand theft and foreclosure consultant fraud.
Prosecutors said that Mendoza, 60, created six separate real estate investment schemes and stole about $470,000 from victims in Ventura, Los Angeles and Tulare counties. She had told the victims their money would be invested in real estate projects but instead she spent the money on herself.
Mendoza also illegally charged one of the victims upfront/advance fees for a mortgage loan modification.
Read the original article in the Ventura County Star.
April 29th, 2016 at 1:16pm
John Packard is a convicted felon who caught a lucky break.
Packard, 66, is the co-founder of Irvine-based Pacific Property Assets, along with his former partner, CEO Michael J. Stewart, 68. In exchange for testifying against Stewart in a case in which prosecutors alleged that about 650 mostly elderly investors lost a total of $169 million in savings and retirement funds when PPA declared bankruptcy, Packard received only 2 1/2 years, whereas Stewart was sentenced to 14 years.
Packard’s luck is that he and his ex-wife, who is serving a life sentence for contracting the murder of her wealthy boyfriend William McLaughlin, have a 16-year old daughter. U.S. District Judge Cormac J. Carney granted the lenient sentence to Packard for his cooperation and lesser culpability than Stewart.
Read the original article in the Orange County Register.
April 29th, 2016 at 12:48pm
Danville businessman Anthony Keslinke, 47, was sentenced to four years in prison by Judge Jon Tigar in the U.S. District Court in Oakland after previously pleading guilty to real estate fraud and money laundering schemes.
Keslinke’s sentence arose out of a guilty plea last year in which he admitted to devising schemes to short-sell properties and for accepting what he thought was drug money from an undercover Internal Revenue Service agent. He must also pay almost $1.3 million in restitution to his victims and to forfeit approximately $3 million in assets.
Read the original article in the Mercury News.
Read the article in the Antioch Herald to learn more about Anthony Keslinke‘s fraudulent short sales (short sale fraud) and the profits he made from it.
April 22nd, 2016 at 6:54am
One of the most prolific and successful prosecutors of mortgage fraud and real estate fraud has resigned.
Benjamin Wagner, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of California, said he will step down at the end of April. He will be replaced by First Assistant U.S. Attorney Phillip Talbert will become acting U.S. attorney on May 1.
Wagner, 56, was appointed U.S. Attorney by President Obama in 2009; it is customary for U.S. attorneys to resign their posts when presidential administrations change. His district covers the region from Bakersfield to the Oregon border, areas which suffered by the housing and mortgage crisis.
Read the original article in ABC News.
April 8th, 2016 at 10:27am
Federal prosecutors have awarded the Stanislaus County District Attorney’s Office the Outstanding Law Enforcement Agency Award for the Eastern District of California for its efforts to fight mortgage fraud and violent gangs.
In acknowledging the work of Investigator Glenn Gulley and Lt. Froilan Mariscal , U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wagner said “The investigators with the Stanislaus County District Attorney’s Office deserve particular recognition for their skill, diligence, and spirit of cooperation.”
Glenn Gulley worked on the FBI’s mortgage fraud task force and continues to work with federal investigators on several pending fraud cases, including the case against Xue Heu, a “serial investment fraudster” who posed as a government official to sell distressed properties to investors, according to federal prosecutors. Heu was sentenced to more than five years in prison. There are several articles about Xue Heu than can be found on the California Real Estate Fraud Report.
Read the original article in the Modesto Bee.
March 28th, 2016 at 5:53pm
Brothers and former real estate agents Adel and Atef Afkarian were sentenced to prison terms for operating a fraudulent “debt elimination” scheme as well as a complicated short sale fraud that ripped off lenders in the San Diego area.
Adel Afkarian was sentenced to 18 months by U.S. District Judge John Houston and Atef Afkarian received 13 months. The judge ordered the brothers to pay more than $5.5 million in restitution to their victims. Their licenses had previously been revoked by the California Bureau of Real Estate.
After identifying underwater homeowners (including themselves), the Afkarians recorded fraudulent deeds (title fraud) that showed the loans on the properties had been extinguished. They then sold the properties to unaware buyers. The original mortgage lenders, who did not know about the fraudulent title documents, were not paid. This included their own $1.4 million mortgage.
At the same time, the Afkarians conspired to transact fraudulent short sales for underwater clients through a simultaneous “double escrow” scheme involving the use of straw buyers.
Read the original article in Fox 5 News.