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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
March 25th, 2011 at 8:39am
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has filed charges against Mountain View-based JSW and five of its officers. The officers are accused in a $17 million real estate investment fraud scam in which investors’ monies were diverted to fund the officers’ own real estate investments.
The named firms are JSW and its predecessor, Jim Ward & Associates, Blue Chip Realty Fund and Shoreline Investment Fund.
The defendants are JSW founder James Ward, 64, of Delaware, Ohio; former Jim Ward & Associates president David Lee 53, (Los Altos); former JSW president Edward Locker, 35 (Highland Heights, Ohio); former JSW vice president Richard Tipton, 60 (Palo Alto); and JSW general counsel David Lin, 42 (Los Altos).
May of the victims-investors are seniors (elder financial fraud).
Read the original article in the Silicon Valley Mercury News.
March 18th, 2011 at 10:36am
A real estate broker who was formerly a member of the Irvine Planning Commission is being sued by a married couple, a high school friend and a father and son who say he solicited money from them for real estate investments he never made.
David R. Sparks, 50, is a long-time broker and owns Irvine-based firm Sparks Realty & Investment Inc. The couple, Marc Vaccaro and Astrid Vanzon, say Sparks flew out to Wisconsin to meet them and “talked about his religious faith, and shared values in a Christian tradition, which added to (their) belief in defendant’s trustworthiness,” according to their federal lawsuit, which accuses Sparks of forging bank and government documents and using nonexistent escrow companies to commit fraud. They are claiming $1.6 million in damages.
Robert Edwin Anslow of Santa Ana is the now-former friend who is suing David Sparks. Gary Schultz and his father Gerhard Schultz have also filed suit against Sparks. All the parties claim that Sparks solicited money from them for real estate investments that were not made (real estate investment fraud).
Here is David Spark’s website for Sparks Realty & Investments, Inc.
Note: the California Department of Real Estate (DRE) does not show any actions taken against David Spark’s real estate license.
Read the original article in the OCRegister / Orange County Register.