California Real Estate Fraud Report

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Archive for the 'Real Estate Investment Fraud' Category

Clovis Man Charged with Operating a Ponzi Scheme

July 13th, 2017 at 7:41am

Clovis resident Seth Adam Depiano, 36, has been arrested Thursday and has been charged with mail fraud, wire fraud and money laundering.

In court document, Deplane is accused of operating a $20 million Ponzi scheme by luring unsuspecting real estate investors into his businesses, including The Rental Group, U.S. Funding and Home Services LLC and Draymond Homes.

He promised the investors that their funds would be used to purchase homes that would either be renovated and resold or turned into rental properties.

In addition, Depiano is accused selling the North Roosevelt apartment building in Fresno that he didn’t owned to his investors. Another complex in Fresno, the “Winery Complex,” was sold as an apartment building but is actually condominium units that are individually owned.

The FBI investigation began in September 2015 after a notary filed a report with the Los Gatos Police Department, claiming her signature had been forged (notary fraud) on a grant deed document for the North Roosevelt complex.

Seth Depiano’s case is being heard before the U.S. District Court in Las Vegas, the city in which he was arrested.

Read the original article in the Fresno Business Journal.

Los Osos Real Estate Broker is Target of Allegations of Fraud re: Septic Credits

July 7th, 2017 at 11:22am

Septic credits” occur when an old building is demolished in Los Osos and the owner can use the historical credit to re-build. The septic credits can be bought, sold and transferred from one parcel to another.

In Los Osos, when building isn’t impossible, it’s at least complicated.

Due to septic contamination of groundwater since 1988, developers, real estate brokers and their agents have used creativity to make projects happen. But because of the complexities, things can get complicated, leading to contract disputes and lawsuits when projects fair to complete.

The recent partnership between Los Osos real estate broker Jeff Edwards, of J.H. Edwards Company, and Fresno-based developer the Los Osos Investment Group, appears to have ended poorly. There are lawsuits betweens the former partners and accusations of “fraudulent conduct, negligence, and misrepresentation” made against Edwards by the California Bureau of Real Estate (BRE).

This is a very complex story, but one well-worth reading.

Read the original article in Full Times SLO.

Newport Beach Man Agrees to Settlement with SEC on Golf Course, Real Estate Venture

February 17th, 2017 at 11:44am

Paul A. Garcia, of Newport Beach, has agreed to pay $3.3 million in settlement to fraud charges brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission. Garcia allegedly defrauded investors and misappropriated money from the investment fund he managed, Caliber Partnership I LLC on a golf resort and real estate venture deal.

Another person, Richard T. Woods of Southlake, Texas was accused of misrepresenting Caliber’s financial status in marketing materials that he prepared and which were approved by Garcia. According to the SEC’s complaint, one of the fraud victims was an 82-year-old who lost $250,000.

Read the original article in L.A. Biz.

Lake Forest Woman Pleads Guilty to Ponzi Scheme in Real Estate Fraud Case

January 27th, 2017 at 10:02am

Fifty-five-year-old Angel Bronsgeest woman has pleaded guilty to federal charges of operating a real estate scam that resulted in Southern California investors losing $3.5 million, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California.

Bronsgeest pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud, said the U.S. Attorney’s Office, admitting that she and Shawn Patrick Watkins solicited their victims at Orange County hotel seminars to invest in their company, called The Equity Growth Group, or TEEG. Their pitch was that TEEG managed hundreds of property and the rents they collected were used to purchase new properties. Investors could earn interest on their money, which was secured by the deeds of trust on the properties. But the U.S. Attorney’s Office said that TEEG was not acquiring new properties, had a negative cash flow and the investors who did receive “interest” payments received that money from funds Bronsgeest and Watkins solicited by new victims (Ponzi scheme).

Read the original article in the OC Register.

Read the press release by clicking on this link for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California.

 

Yorba Linda Man Sentenced to 4 Years in Real Estate Fraud Scheme

January 6th, 2017 at 10:00am

Andres Oman Pacheco, 40, has been sentenced to four years in prison after pleading guilty to the following crimes in a real estate fraud case:

Two counts of grand theft, both felonies
Admitting a sentencing enhancement allegation for aggravated white collar crime exceeding $500,000

The victims put money on deposit to buy property and when the deals fell through Pacheco would not refund the money, McFetridge said.

Pacheco was the owner of Santa Ana-based Franklin Equity Corporation/Signature Escrow, according to Senior Deputy District Attorney George McFetridge. His victims had entrusted him with $540,000 to invest in properties. When the sales failed to close, Pacheco refused to return their money.

Read the original article in the OC Register.

 

Vacaville Man Seeks New Trial after Being Convicted in Real Estate Fraud Case

December 8th, 2016 at 5:50pm

Richard D. Lamphere, 53, who was found guilty by a jury in September on four of five charges in relation to a real estate fraud case, has indicated through his new attorneys his intent to seek a new trial.

The case against Lamphere dates back more than 10 years and concerns two men who were defrauded out of more than a combined $1.3 million in an Oroville real estate scheme. Both men gave Lamphere their money in the hopes that they would profit from Lamphere’s real estate investment project. Prosecutors, however, presented evidence that he used the victims’ investment money for his personal use.

One of the men, sued  Richard Lamphere in civil court and was awarded $1.9 million. This proceeded the filing of criminal charges by the Solano County District Attorney’s Office.

Read the original article in TheReporter.com.

 

Defendant in real estate fraud case used funds for plastic surgery, travel

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.

 

Ventury County Woman Goes to Prison for Foreclosure Consultant Fraud

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.

Utah man charged in real estate investment scam targeting Orange County investors

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.

Two Plead Guilty in Loomis Wealth Solutions Mortgage Fraud Case

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.

© 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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