California Real Estate Fraud Report

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Archive for the 'Real Estate Investment Fraud' Category

Developer Romo Indicted in Real Estate Investment Fraud

May 20th, 2011 at 9:03am

Folsom developer David Romo, 42, has been indicted by a federal grand jury in an alleged real estate investment fraud that may have cost investors $2.5 million.

Romo promised his investors that their money would be placed in developing real estate projects. Prosecutors alleged that he diverted at least some of the funds for his own use.

The indictment states that, instead, Romo pocketed some of the funds and used some of the balance to pay unrelated prior business expenses. Further, Romo failed to inform investors that he had been convicted for bank fraud in 2002 and served time in prison as a result.

Read the original article in the Sacramento Bee.

Visalia Man Pleads Guilty in Real Estate Fraud Case

May 20th, 2011 at 8:52am

Jesse Alvin Cripps Sr., 57, a financial adviser based in Visalia, has pleaded guilty to 15 counts of mail fraud and two counts of money laundering.

According the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Cripps defrauded investors by promising them dividends of 10%-12% per month by investing their money in REITs (real estate investment trusts. Instead, he diverted the money for his personal use, causing losses of approximately $2 million.

Read the original article in the Fresno Bee.

LAPD Detective Charged in Real Estate Fraud

May 13th, 2011 at 9:43am

Here’s a case where routine screening by a law enforcement agency failed to catch a bad apple.

Darcey Greenfield, 39, joined the LAPD since 1994. Along with working her way into becoming a detective, Greenfield started a sideline with real estate investments that crossed over into real estate fraud, according to investigators with the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s real estate fraud unit.

The DA’s office has charged her with 10 felonies, which include the serious charges of sale of false investment securities, the sale of securities without a license and grand theft. According to the prosecutor, the charges have to do with three individuals living in San Bernardo who invested with Darcey Greenfield. But, said to say, 13 LAPD personnel also invested with her and several have had to file bankruptcy as a result of the alleged real estate investment scam.

When members of a group are taken in by a scam, whether they are of the same ethnicity, attend the same church or, in this case, belong to a trusted group such as the LAPD, that is called affinity fraud.

Darcey Greenfield is in custody at the Rancho Cucamonga detention center, unable so far to make her $1 million bail.

Read the original article in the Los Angeles Times.

Roseville Man Pleads Guilty in Real Estate Fraud

May 13th, 2011 at 8:51am

Royce Lee Newcomb has pleaded guilty in federal court to wire fraud. He admitted that he and Barry Winnett operated a real estate fraud. Twenty-two investors lost $3 million to what amounted to nothing more than a Ponzi scheme.

With all the media attention directed toward real estate fraud and mortgage fraud scams, Newcomb and Winnett nevertheless concocted a scheme in 2009 and 2010 in which Newcomb solicited the investors for his fund to purchase foreclosed homes and place their monies with Countour Escrow Services, which Winnett operated even though he was unlicensed. Both men withdrew the monies for their personal use (escrow fraud) instead of investing it.

Barry Winnett has already pleaded guilty for his role in this real estate investment fraud.

Read the original article in the Sacramento Bee.

Owner of Investment Group Indicted in Ponzi Scheme

April 26th, 2011 at 10:23am

Sacramento resident Garry Bradford, 62, has been indicted for wire fraud in a real estate investment fraud case.

Bradford owned and operated a real estate investment club called Millenium Capital Group, Inc. Investors were told their money would be used to purchase real estate but Garry Bradford allegedly did little investing. As is typical in a Ponzi scheme, many of the newer investors’ funds were used to pay the earlier investors, who were promised 18 percent returns.

Read the original article in the Sacramento Bee.

Granite Bay Man Arrested, Charged in Ponzi Scheme

April 26th, 2011 at 10:16am

Royce Newcomb, 49, of Granite Bay,  has been arraigned on wire fraud charges in connection with a Ponzi scheme that solicited investors to put money into purchasing foreclosed homes (real estate investment fraud).

Newcomb’s ploy to convince the investors his operation was legitimate was to tell them he was placing their funds into escrow with Contour Escrow Services Inc. Contour Escrow Services Inc. was run by Barry Winnett, who holds a real estate salesperson’s license but does not have a license to run an escrow business. Barry Winnett pleaded guilty to wire fraud in December 2010 and is awaiting a possible 20 year prison term when he is sentence in June.

The Placer County Sheriff turned over the case to the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate and prosecute.

Read the original article in the Roseville Press Tribune.

Paso Robles Brokers Charged with Real Estate Investment Fraud

April 19th, 2011 at 6:49pm

Paso Robles lenders Rod Jarmin and Tammy Jordan have been charged with seven counts of embezzlement and fraud in a real estate investment fraud scheme that may have cost the investors $30 million.

Jarmin and Jordan, both licensed real estate brokers, operated Real Property Lenders (RPL) in Paso Robles and allegedly solicited investors – many of them seniors (elder financial fraud) to purchase securities for projects that the RPL owners knew were in danger of failing.  Rod Jarmin’ s real estate license was revoked in 2003 but reinstated in 2007. Tammy Jordan‘s license shows no disciplinary action.

The California Department of Corporations (DOC) began investigating RPL in 2007 and revoked its license to sell securities in June 2008. Following the DOC action, the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s office initiated its own inquiry into RPL after it received complaints about the firm’s practices.

Read the original article in the Cal Coast News.

Default Judgment Entered Against Broker David Sparks

April 1st, 2011 at 8:50am

Because Irvine real estate investment broker David R. Sparks did not respond to a lawsuit filed by a married couple against him for fraud, a default civil judgment has been entered by a federal court clerk against him.

Marc Vaccaro and Astrid Vanzon, a Wisconsin couple, filed suit against Sparks for the $1.6 million in actual losses they sustained and another $1 million for the “false profits” Sparks told them they had earned. 

David R. Sparks is a former Irvine Planning Commissioner.

Read the original article in the OC Register.

There is an earlier article about David R. Sparks in the California Real Estate Fraud Report.

Thousand Oaks Real Estate Broker Pleads Guilty to Ponzi Scheme

April 1st, 2011 at 8:43am

A real estate broker in Thousand Oaks has chosen to plead guilty to wire fraud and mail fraud in a real estate investment fraud scheme that ripped off over 100 investors for $18.9 million.

Louis “Jim” Borstelmann, 68, has admitted that he was running nothing more than a Ponzi scheme when he solicited money from his neighbors and a number of investors in Oregon. One Oregon woman lost $900,000 as a result of being defrauded by Borstelmann.

If Borstelmann’s sentence is at least 108 months, the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office will not prosecute him for the local crimes, according to Miles Weiss, a senior deputy district attorney for the D.A.’s Real Estate Fraud Unit. It was the IRS and FBI that conducted most of the investigation against Borstelmann.

Louis Borstelmann’s real estate license with the DRE currently shows no disciplinary action.

Read the original article in the Ventura County Star.

Santa Cruz Woman Charged in Prolific Real Estate Investment Fraud

March 25th, 2011 at 8:51am

Tara Denis Bonelli, 31, has been arrested by the FBI and charged by a federal grand jury of 18 counts of wire fraud, one count of mail fraud, and three counts of money laundering.

Bonelli owned and operated up to 10 firms that constituted a one-stop shop in real estate: everything from investing to foreclosure assistance. According to the indictment, she used several properties she owned as collateral to solicit investors for non-existent real estate property purchases. Just as noxious, she hired persons to door-knock homeowners in distress and amazingly convinced some of them to sign blank real estate contracts.

Read the original article in RealEstateRama.

© Copyright 2007-2014 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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