California Real Estate Fraud Report

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Archive for the 'Real Estate Crimes' Category

Modesto resident Xue Heu pleads guilty to elaborate distressed real estate fraud

March 31st, 2015 at 3:27pm

According to an article in the Modesto Bee, Xue Heu, 38, who conned over $1.26 million from investors in California and Texas, pleaded guilty on Monday to two counts of wire fraud.

Heu and Thomas Dickey Price, 72,  posed as representatives of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac who were selling foreclosed homes through their companies Liquid Assets & Land Investments Inc. and Capital Land Investments LLC. The homes had already been sold but the pair used forged deeds (title fraud) and other fraudulent documents in order to fool their victims.

Heu used the alias Michael Chan and Price used the names Albert Martin and Matt Taylor.

A third conspirator, Carla Lee Miller, signed a plea arrangement earlier this month.

Xue Heu will be sentenced in June in Fresno. If he pays restitution to his victims of $403,469 he could receive less than the 20 year sentence for which he is eligible.

The case was investigated by the FBI and the ace team at the Stanislaus County District Attorney’s Office real estate fraud unit.

Read a copy of the plea agreement Xue Heu made with the Office of U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wagner.

San Jose woman sentenced for real estate Ponzi scheme

March 26th, 2015 at 7:51am

The office of United States Attorney Melinda Haag announced that Joyce Esther De Armero was sentenced to 12 months and one day in prison and ordered to pay restitution for mail fraud in a real estate investment fraud case.

De Armero, 37, pleaded guilty on December 4, 2014, to mail fraud and admitted that she conned investors into giving her money to invest in high-interest real estate loans with guaranteed returns between July 2008 and January 2010.  She confessed that she made no investments but spent the money on herself, other than using some of the funds from the later investors to re-pay the earlier ones, in order to keep her Ponzi scheme operating.

Read the original article in the Imperial Valley News.

Man pleads guilty in title fraud, property flipping case

March 26th, 2015 at 7:43am

According to U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy, Daniel Deaibes has pleaded guilty for his role in a scheme to flip houses by first stealing the title to homes in Southern California.

In his plea agreement, Deaibes admitted that between September 2012 and November 2014 he and two alleged co-conspirators fraudulently sold or attempted to sell at least 10 homes for more than $2.3 million. Deaibes admitted that he and the alleged co-conspirators, one of whom owned several real estate businesses, would record fraudulent grant deeds at the county recorders’ offices and then immediately attempt to sell the properties to unsuspecting buyers.

The scheme unraveled when Fannie Mae, the owner of one of the properties, discovered the fraud and attempted to regain title. In response, Deaibes and the others created a fake “Withdrawal of Lis Pendens” in an effort to proceed with the fraudulent sale. Even after Fannie Mae won a court judgment, the co-conspirators recorded a fraudulent “Satisfaction of Judgment”.

Read the full article in FBI.gov.

Three Jara family members plead guilty to Bakersfield mortgage fraud

March 17th, 2015 at 5:23pm

Bakersfield residents Eliseo Jara Jr., 35, and his brother, Sergio Jara, 33, have pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud, mail fraud, and wire fraud in a $5.6 million mortgage fraud case. Sergio Jara’s wife, Melissa Jara, 34, pleaded guilty to wire fraud in the same case, according to the Office of the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of California.

According to prosecutors, from 2007 to 2010, the Jara brothers, who owned Jara Brothers Investments, conspired with other persons to use straw buyers to purchase residential properties in Bakersfield they had developed with Pershing Partners LLC. Straw buyers were paid to purchase the properties from the two firms and they were funded by submitting false documentation to the lenders. Melissa Jara admitted she had submitted fraudulent loan documents to a lender on behalf of a straw buyer in order to finance a property she owned in an LLC.

All three defendants have agreed to financial restitution and relinquishing six properties as part of their sentences, which have yet to be set.

This case is the product of a joint investigation by the Internal Revenue Service‑Criminal Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kirk E. Sherriff, Henry Z. Carbajal III, and Megan A. S. Richards are prosecuting the case.

Four of the Jara’s co-defendants who have already pleaded guilty are Antonio Perez-Marcial (46 months in prison); Arlene Mojardin (awaiting sentencing); Candace Gonzales (awaiting sentencing); and  Ricardo Salinas (awaiting sentencing).

Read the original article in KERO 23ABC News.

Former bank president pleads guilty in short sale fraud case

March 17th, 2015 at 4:42pm

The following is a press release from SIGTARP:

WASHINGTON, DC - Christy Romero, Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP), and Pamela C. Marsh, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida, today announced that Michael “Sean” Davis, 43, of Crestview, Fla., pleaded guilty on March 13, 2015, to conspiracy to commit bank fraud and mail fraud; conspiracy to commit money laundering; making false statements to a federally insured institution; and fraudulently benefitting from a loan by a federally insured institution.

Between January 2006 and January 2011, while the president of Premier Community Bank of the Emerald Coast, Davis devised a scheme to defraud Premier Community Bank, Bank of America, and Beach Community Bank. As a part of the scheme, Davis solicited a straw buyer to submit false documents to purchase real properties via short sales from Bank of America. At Davis’ direction, the straw buyer then sold the properties the same day to third-party buyers. Davis authorized and approved loans from Premier Community Bank to these third-party buyers for the purchase of two of these properties from Davis’ straw buyer. As a result of these loans, Davis received approximately $297,408 through his company, MSD Investments. Through this scheme, Davis discharged approximately $743,425 in debt he owed to Bank of America for mortgage loans issued to Davis personally.

Sentencing is scheduled for May 28, 2015, before Chief United States District Judge M. Casey Rodgers at the United States Courthouse in Pensacola, Fla.

The case was investigated by Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation with assistance from SIGTARP, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Office of Inspector General, and the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office as part of the Northwest Florida Financial Crimes Task Force.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Tiffany H. Eggers.

This prosecution was brought in coordination with President Barack Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force, which was established to wage an aggressive and coordinated effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. SIGTARP is a member of the task force and co-chairs the Rescue Fraud Working Group. To learn more about the President’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force, please visit www.StopFraud.gov.

Former Bakersfield real estate agent pleads guilty in mortgage fraud case

March 12th, 2015 at 6:56am

Arlene Jeanette Mojardin, 32, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud, mail fraud and wire fraud. Mojardin was a real estate agent (license revoked) who admitted that her participation caused lenders to lose almost $3.7 million in the conspiracy.

Mojardin (formerly Arlene Jeanette Jara) and eight other people were charged in 2012 by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of California. The allegations were that they used straw buyers to purchase properties developed by Jara Brothers Investments and Pershing Partners LLC by submitting falsified loan applications to the lenders.

Read the original article in Bakersfield Now.

Four found guilty in Sacramento-area mortgage fraud

March 12th, 2015 at 6:39am

A federal jury has convicted Nadia Kuzmenko, 35, of Loomis, Peter Kuzmenko, 36, Edward Shevtsov, 51, and Aaron New, 39,  all of Sacramento, of multiple counts of mail and wire fraud for their roles in a mortgage fraud scheme that cost financial institutions approximately $16 million.

Kuzmenko, Shevtsov and New were also found guilty of money laundering associated with the scheme. Kuzmenko was also found guilty of witness tampering. They will be sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge John Mendez on May 26.

According to evidence presented at the trial by prosecutors from the office of U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wagner, Nadia Kuzmenko, a real estate agent, created falsified loan applications on behalf of  straw buyers during the period of 2006-2007. She and her co-defendants were able to obtain loans of more than $26 million for over 30 properties in the Sacramento area.

“The defendants … were important players in a network of fraudsters responsible for millions of dollars in losses associated with dozens of inflated property sales using multiple straw buyers,” says Mr. Wagner.

Co-defendants Vera Kuzmenko and Rachel Siders are still awaiting trial.

Read the original article in the Central Valley Business Times.

Seal Beach woman sentenced to prison for real estate fraud – and it’s not her first conviction

February 23rd, 2015 at 11:10am

Karen Hanover, 48, of Seal Beach, has been sentenced to almost three years in prison for tricking people to invest in a commercial real estate scheme she ran, according to Thom Mrozek, public affairs officer for the United States Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California.

The investors turned over $19,000 to $29,000 in exchange for Hanover’s promise  guaranteeing them a 100% return or a 100% refund if they didn’t have a commercial property within a year. The investments were pitched at real estate seminars held in Southern California, Las Vegas and Dallas using two Long Beach companies, Commercial Investment Education LLC and Kharmic Life Strategies Inc.

Karen Hanover received a six month sentence and a $5,000 fine in 2011 for impersonating an FBI agent in order to threaten clients who complained about a prior real estate scheme.

Read the original article in the OC Register and the Los Alamitos-Seal Beach Patch.

Joshua Clymer last defendant sentenced in Diamond Hill Financial mortgage fraud case

February 20th, 2015 at 11:15am

Joshua Clymer, 28, was sentenced to two years in prison for conspiracy to commit mail fraud in connection with a mortgage fraud scheme in which he an his co-defendants helped straw buyers purchase homes by submitting fraudulent loan applications containing lies about the purchasers’ income, assets, employment and intent to occupy the homes.

Clymer, the last of 14 defendants to be sentenced, pleaded guilty to what FBI news release stated was a “loan origination and property flipping mortgage fraud scheme” using the companies Diamond Hill Financial and Bay Area Real Estate Holdings.

Clymer’s co-defendants, who have already been sentenced in this and related cases include Leonard Williams, 87 months; Garret Gililland, 94 months; Niche Fortune, 57 months; Kesha Haynie, 46 months; Eric Clawson, 37 months; Anthony Symmes, 35 months; Carlos Chamorro, 27 months; Shane Burreson, 23 months; Christopher M. Chiavola, 22 months; William E. Baker, 18 months; Nicole Magpusao, 535 days; Brandon Resendez, nine months; and Remy Heng, six months home detention. Twelve of the defendants pleaded guilty, including Clymer. Juries convicted the two defendants who went to trial, Haynie and Williams.

The case resulted from an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation; and the Butte County District Attorney’s Office’s Major Crimes Unit.

Read the original article in the Sacramento Bee.

Three L.A. Deputy Sheriffs charged in mortgage fraud scheme – and they’re brothers

February 6th, 2015 at 10:20am

Brothers Billy, Benny and Johnny Khounthavong are charged with conspiracy to make false statements to two banks in a mortgage fraud scheme known as a “buy-and-bail” that is being heard by a federal jury.

Federal prosecutors allege that the Khounthavongs submitted false reports to Flagstar Bank in order to purchase a 3,900 sq. ft. home in Corona. A second allegation is that the three lied to Bank of America and walked away from another property they owned in Chino in which they were underwater, causing losses of $340,000 from the unpaid mortgage.

The Khounthavong brothers are currently on leave from the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department and are free on bond.

Read the original article in the Claremont-La Verne Patch.

© Copyright 2007-2015 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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