California Real Estate Fraud Report

You have just entered the #1 private-sector resource on the Internet for real estate fraud. In doing so, you have voluntarily left the dimension of the conventional real estate world and crossed over to the Dark Side, the realm where greed, dishonesty and evil are the order of the day. Sign up for a free subscription to this comprehensive news resource and receive weekly, timely news reports about real estate fraud, mortgage fraud, short sale fraud, REO fraud, title fraud, loan fraud, appraisal fraud, affinity fraud, loan modification scams, securities fraud and elder financial fraud.

Archive for the 'Real Estate Crimes' Category

Two Men Plead Guilty to Defrauding Lenders of $33.6 Million in Novel Scheme

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.

 

 

 

San Joaquin Real Estate Agent Arrested for Elder Abuse

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.

Mortgage Broker Pleads Guilty in Foreclosure Fraud Case

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.

Co-Founder of Pacific Property Assets Gets Light Sentence Due to Minor Child

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.

Anthony Keslinke Sentenced to 4 Years in Real Estate Fraud, Drug Money Scheme

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.

Benjamin Wagner Resigns as U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of California

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.

 

Stanislaus County District Attorney’s Office Receives Federal Award

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.

San Diego Brothers Sentenced to Prison for “Debt Elimination” Scheme, Short Sale Fraud

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.

Stiff Prison Sentence for Real Estate Agent Convicted in Mortgage Fraud Case

March 25th, 2016 at 6:11am

A Placer County woman convicted in a multimillion-dollar mortgage fraud scheme has been sentenced to 14 years in prison.

Vera Kuzmenko, 46, of Loomis was sentenced to 14 years in prison by U.S. District Judge John A. Mendez for multiple counts of mail and wire fraud, witness tampering and money laundering for her role  in the scheme that cost financial institutions more than $16 million, according to a U.S. attorney’s office news release.

Kuzmenko and  Rachel Siders, 40, of Roseville were convicted by a federal jury in December 2015. Rachel Siders will be sentenced June 21.

Prosecutors presented evidence that, from late 2006 through early 2008, Kuzmenko and Siders participants in a mortgage fraud scheme involving more than 30 properties in the Sacramento area. The pair were responsible for securing more than $30 million in residential mortgage loans on more than 30 homes purchased through straw buyers. Records introduced during the trial showed Kuzmenko received millions of dollars in payment for creating fraudulent loan applications on behalf of the straw buyers.

In October 2015, Judge Mendez sentenced co-defendants Peter Kuzmenko, 37 of West Sacramento, to 19 years in prison; Aaron New, 41 of Sacramento, to 11 years and three months in prison; Nadia Kuzmenko, 36, formerly of Loomis, to eight years in prison; and Edward Shevtsov, 52, of North Highlands, to eight years in prison. They were previously found guilty of multiple counts of mail and wire fraud associated with the mortgage fraud scheme. In addition, Peter Kuzmenko, Shevtsov and New were found guilty of money laundering associated with the scheme, and Nadia Kuzmenko was found guilty of witness tampering.

The FBI and the IRS-Criminal Investigation investigated the case.

You can find earlier articles related to this case in the California Real Estate Fraud Report.

Read the original article in the Sacramento Bee.

Lakewood Woman Convicted in Real Estate Fraud

February 26th, 2016 at 9:16am

Felicia Muhammad, 45, has been convicted on five felony counts for lying to banks that funded mortgages for three properties, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Muhammad, a licensed real estate salesperson living in Long Beach, was convicted of making false statements to federally-insured financial institutions: U.S. Bank, Countrywide Bank and First Horizon Home Loans — a subsidiary of First Tennessee Bank, causing losses of $662,000 when the properties were foreclosed.

“This defendant lied to three different financial institutions, causing significant losses to all of them,” said U.S. Attorney Eileen M. Decker, in a statement. “The Department of Justice will continue to hold accountable those who would commit mortgage fraud and place U.S. financial institutions at risk.”

 

Read the original article in the Long Beach Press Telegram.

© Copyright 2007-2016 Monique Bryher

Legal Disclaimer.

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.

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system, without written permission from the author, except for the inclusion of BRIEF QUOTATIONS in a review.

BLOG POWERED BY SHARP BIZ IMAGE

Copy Protected by Chetan's WP-Copyprotect.