California Real Estate Fraud Report

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Archive for the 'Real Estate Investment Fraud' Category

Walnut Creek man sentenced for $21 million real estate investment fraud

April 23rd, 2015 at 3:14pm

Sixty-year-old Benny Chetcuti Jr. has been sentenced to more than four years in prison for operating a real estate investment fraud scheme. He must also pay over $21.8 million in restitution for the losses he caused.

Chetcuti convinced investors to loan money to his firm, Chetcuti & Associates, telling them their investments were backed by properties. Although the firm’s business was to buy, renovate and re-sell homes (“flipping”), he did so by forging deeds purportedly written by lenders and title company officers.

Read the original article in the Contra Costa Times and the office of U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag.

Modesto man pleads guilty to Guatemalan real estate investment scam

April 22nd, 2015 at 7:26am

Modesto resident Kenneth Manuel Martin, 66, pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud.

According to the offices of United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner, Martin convinced individuals to invest money with him, telling them their monies would be used to fund mortgage loans to home buyers in Guatemala. Their investments were to be secured by grant deeds secured by Guatemalan real estate. The inducement was high interest rates of return.

This case was investigated jointly by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Social Security Administration, Office of Inspector General. Assistant United States Attorneys Henry Z. Carbajal III and Grant B. Rabenn are prosecuting the case.

Read the original article in the Imperial Valley News.

Modesto man pleads guilty to real estate investment fraud

April 22nd, 2015 at 7:11am

The law has caught up with Ralph Leyva, 62, who just pleaded guilty to fraud and will be sentenced to four years in prison.

Leyva defrauded investors out of $350,000 in 2011 whom he conned into buying six properties in San Diego through a company called California REO Services LLC.

A Modesto man who swindled at least $350,000 from real estate investors pleaded guilty Tuesday to fraud charges in exchange for a four-year prison sentence.

Leyva, who used the aliases of George Anderson and Andrew Taylor, was investigated by the Stanislaus County District Attorney’s Office real estate fraud unit in cooperation with the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which oversees fraud claims involving Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Read the original article in the Modesto Bee.

Marin County mortgage broker pleads guilty in investment fraud

April 8th, 2015 at 8:33am

A Marin County, California, mortgage broker pleaded guilty last month to 14 federal counts related to a $2.4 million scheme to defraud investors.

Paul Sloane Davis, a 75-year old mortgage broker, pleaded guilty in March to 14 federal counts in relation to a $2.4 million real estate investment fraud.

Davis operated D.M. Financial along with Diane Cobb, 57, who pleaded guilty in July 2014.  U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag said the pair diverted investor funds for their own use or to make interest payments to prior investors (Ponzi schemes). The investment opportunity was to provide short-term financing to borrowers for their real estate transactions.

Read the original article in Inman.com

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 flipping scheme

March 13th, 2015 at 8:27am

The Office of U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wagner has announced that Anatoliy Azarov, 33, of Sacramento, has pleaded guilty to mail fraud in regard to a mortgage fraud scheme involving 24 residential properties.

Azarov and a co-conspirator, Vadim Vilchitsa, 32,  had a business beginning in 2007 that solicited funds from investors to buy, renovate and flip residential properties. According to court documents the men convinced the investors to purchase the properties at inflated prices; they used the overage as working capital.

Prosecutors say that they helped the investors purchase properties through Yevgeniy Zazhitskiy, 39, a licensed real estate broker who worked as a loan officer.

Both Vadim Vilchitsa and Yevgeniy Zazhitskiy have already pleaded guilty in this case and have received sentences of 15 and 20 months in prison, respectively.

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.

Modesto Man Accused of Bilking Real Estate Investors

January 8th, 2015 at 9:11am

The Modesto Bee reported that Ralph Leyva, 62, was arraigned in Stanislaus Superior Court on three felony counts of grand theft with special allegations of engaging in a pattern of fraud, plus an additional felony count of trying to steal $188,630 from Bank of America.

Leyva, who used aliases of George Anderson and Andrew Taylor, is accused of creating a phony company called California REO Services LLC and  Delta Escrow, according to Prosecutor Jeff Mangar of the Stanislaus County District Attorney’s Office. The Modesto Bee article states that the charges stem from Leyva allegedly posing as an agent authorized to sell distressed properties foreclosed on by government entities to real estate investors.

Walnut Creek Real Estate Broker Charged with Defrauding Neighbors

December 11th, 2014 at 3:13pm

Walnut Creek real estate broker James Thomas Haro has been arrested and is accused of defrauding his neighbors out of $370,000.

According to the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office, Haro, 67, was arrested and charged with one count of securities fraud and two counts of grand theft in relation to investments he made on behalf of a neighbor who is a physician and the physician’s spouse.

Haro has been in real estate for over 32 years and is the sole officer of the Walnut Creek-based real estate brokerage firm Alamo Mortgage Corporation.

Anyone who believes they may have been a victim of real estate fraud by James Haro is asked to call Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Senior Inspector Ike Menchaca at (925) 957-2248.

Read the original article in the Pleasant Hill 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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