November 18th, 2016 at 10:46am
Shirley Venoya Remmert, 69, lived with her aunt home and provided care to the 96-year old. The aunt, who suffered from mild cognitive impairment, signed a quitclaim deed to the house to Remmert, who then recorded the deed in January 2016. Remmert allegedly isolated the elderly woman from her family members, who then notified the bank of possible abuse. The bank in turn reported this to San Mateo County Adult Protective Services.
A later investigation by the Public Guardian’s Office, Adult Protective Services, and East Palo Alto Police revealed that Shirley Remmert withdrew somewhere between $40,000 and $80,000 from her aunt’s bank account without the elder woman’s knowledge or permission. Further, the aunt was not aware she signed a quitclaim deed and believed she still owned the house.
Read the original article in Palo Alto Online.
November 18th, 2016 at 10:08am
California real estate investors John Michael Galloway and Nicholas Diaz have each pleaded guilty to one count of bid rigging in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in Oakland today.
According to court documents, between June 2008 and January 2011, the two men agreed and conspired with others not to bid against one another, instead setting up a private bidding system. The purpose of that was to suppress competition and to acquire properties at non-competitive prices.
Thus far, 59 persons have either pleaded guilty or agreed to plead guilty in bid rigging at public real estate foreclosure auctions in San Francisco, San Mateo, Contra Costa and Alameda counties.
These investigations are being conducted by the Antitrust Division’s San Francisco Office and the FBI’s San Francisco Office, in connection with the president’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force.
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.
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.
November 11th, 2016 at 11:48am
The following is a press release by the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office:
The Honorable Curtis Fiorini sentenced Shaima Hadayat and Harpreet Singh to 180 days in county jail for real estate fraud, specifically, short sale fraud. Singh also received 5 years formal probation and Hadayat received 3 years informal probation.
Broker Shaima Hadayat and Real Estate Agent Harpreet Singh were realtors for multiple short sale transactions in which they signed arm’s length transaction agreements under penalty of perjury. An investigation by the Office of Inspector General revealed the sellers were related to the buyers and after the transactions were completed, the sellers remained in their homes in violation of the agreements.
Both defendants conspired to facilitate and obtain commissions from these transactions. Singh also forged proof of funds on multiple offers to various realtors throughout Sacramento County.
Harpreet Singh pled no contest to a felony count of forgery and agreed to surrender his realtor license to the California Bureau of Real Estate. Shaima Hadayat pled no contest to a misdemeanor count of grand theft and agreed to surrender her broker license to the California Bureau of Real Estate.
The Office of the Inspector General was the investigating agency as the victims, Wells Fargo Bank and Bank of America, N.A., applied for and received federal Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) funds under the Capital Purchase Program (CPP).
This case was prosecuted by the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Real Estate Fraud Unit.
October 13th, 2016 at 9:32am
Nancy Russell Kempis, 64, of Santa Clara, has been sentenced for more than six-months in jail for scamming a family out of their home and defrauding four banks.
The former real estate agent convinced the family to sell her their home at a “dramatically reduced price” in order to avoid foreclosure. She rented them the home and promised to return it. Instead, she secured a number of fraudulent mortgages, sucking all the equity out of the house and defaulting between 2006 and 2009. The home was then lost to foreclosure and the family evicted.
Kempis’ scam cost lenders $750,000.
Kempis eventually fled to New York, went into hiding under the false name Morpheus Daw Pud Ko and helped run a women’s ministry.
“Ms. Kempis scammed hundreds of thousands of dollars and drove a family into homelessness,” Santa Clara County Deputy District Attorney Charles Huang said in a statement.
Read the original article in KRON4.com
October 4th, 2016 at 7:54am
Mission Viejo resident Francisco “Frank” Hobson, 39, has pleaded guilty to taking $2.3 million-plus from investors in a real estate investment fraud.
As part of his plea agreement for wire fraud, Hobson must repay his victims at least $1.5 million, according to federal prosecutors.
According to court records, Hobson operated his “business” between December 2010 and June 2016 and promised the victims their money would be used to purchase properties. In fact, the properties were either not for sale or didn’t exist and the documents Frank Hobson provided were fraudulent or forged.
At one time, Francisco Hobson was a licensed real estate agent with the California Bureau of Real Estate before his license was revoked in August 2016.
Hobson used the victims’ money to buy groceries, travel and for laser-hair removal and plastic surgery, according to court records.
“The defendant made simple promises to his victims, promises he never intended to fulfill,” said U.S. Attorney Eileen M. Decker in a statement. “The defendant then used his victims’ hard-earned money to fund his personal lifestyle.
Read the original article in the Orange County Register or the press release by the U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California.
September 30th, 2016 at 7:29am
Sixty-one-year-old Gregoria Mendoza was sentenced by Ventura Superior Court Judge Ryan Wright to seven years and four months in state prison after she pleaded guilty to multiple counts of grand theft and one count of foreclosure consultant fraud.
Mendoza, a resident of Oak View, was also ordered to pay over $470,000 in restitution to her victims.
Mendoza operated six or more real estate investment schemes according to the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office, snagging investors from Ventura, Los Angeles and Tulare counties.
Read the full article in the VCStar / Ventura County Star.
September 16th, 2016 at 9:21am
SANTA ANA, California – A Utah man has been arrested for his role in a real estate fraud scheme in which Southern California investors collectively suffered nearly $3.5 million in losses.
Shawn Patrick Watkins, 46, of Layton, Utah, was taken into custody on September 1 when he surrendered to FBI agents in Orange County. Watkins had been charged with mail fraud, wire fraud and money laundering in a nine-count indictment returned on August 17 by a federal grand jury.
Watkins and others offered investments in a company known as The Equity Growth Group (TEGG) between approximately 2007 through 2014. According to the indictment, the victims were solicited during seminars in Orange County hotels offered by Investor Workshops, Inc., in which Watkins presented himself as an expert in the field of real estate investment. In order to lend credibility to the scheme, Watkins attempted to gain trust by telling investors that he was formerly employed as a law enforcement officer.
As part of the solicitations, Watkins made omissions and false promises to investors. For example, the indictment alleges that Watkins falsely told investors that TEGG controlled hundreds of properties that generated rental income and TEGG would continue its growth by acquiring new properties. Watkins led investors to believe that they would receive substantial interest payments or that their money would be secured by collateral through the filing of deeds of trust on properties.
In reality, over the course of the several years, until the scheme collapsed in the spring of 2014, TEGG was not acquiring new properties and had a negative cash flow. Investor money was not used to acquire new properties, nor was it secured by collateral, and many victims did not receive interest payments. In fact, money that was paid to some victims as purported interest or a return on their investment came from investments made by other victims.
Read the rest of the press release from the U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California.
August 11th, 2016 at 8:42pm
Michael Llamas, 31, of Tracy, and Peter Woodard, 48, of Ventura, pleaded guilty in federal court in Sacramento to conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Llamas separately pleaded guilty to a count of concealment of a felony.
Llamas owned LW Premier Holdings LLC and Woodard owned Cobalt One LLC. They had rights to buy homes at discounts from builders in several states but purchased homes at full price without disclosing this to the lenders.
Loomis Wealth Solutions convinced investors to buy homes using their credit, which would then be rented out and managed, with the investors getting regular payments. Owner Lee Loomis was arrested in 2012 and charged with multiple counts of mail fraud and wire fraud. After pleading guilty in January 2016, he asked the court to withdraw his plea.
There are numerous articles on Lee Loomis and Loomis Wealth Solutions on earlier postings on the California Real Estate Fraud Report.