January 29th, 2016 at 11:42am
Thomas Franklin Tarbutton, 56, of Newport Beach, has been convicted of almost 40 felony counts, after being tried for grand theft and securities fraud. The 11 victims lost over $3 million, according to Senior Deputy District Attorney Pete Pierce of the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.
Tarbutton operated Irvine-based Villa Capital Inc. from 2004-2010 and funded private loans using monies he received from investors. He fled to Panama but was extradited to Orange County in December 2013.
Read the original article in The Patch.
October 22nd, 2015 at 3:39pm
Jonathan Greenfield, 50, of West Hills, has been sentenced to 18 months in federal prison by U.S. District Court Judge Dale S. Fischer.
Greenfield pleaded guilty in December 2013 to two counts of wire fraud after admitting that he misled clients at his brokerage Morgan Peabody about a real estate investment fund called the Sherwood Secured Investment Fund.
The fund was created by David A. Williams, the former chief executive at Morgan Peabody. Williams, who admitted using much of the investors’ money for his own use, also pleaded guilty but has not been sentenced yet.
Read the original article in the Los Angeles Business Journal.
September 17th, 2015 at 9:54am
Paul Ricky Mata, David Kayatta and Mario Pincheira are on the receiving end of civil fraud charges by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which accuses the men of diverting money given to them for investments for their own personal use and for unrelated business ventures. The SEC has obtained an asset freeze and a preliminary injunction against the trio as part of its action.
In a separate action, the California Department of Business Oversight filed a $20 million securities lawsuit in state courts.
The SEC claims that Paul Mata ran the scam through his companies Secured Capital Investments, Logos Wealth Advisors, Lifetime Enterprises and Logos Real Estate Holdings. Solicitations by Mata, Kayata and Pincheira are alleged to have raised $14 million for two unregistered real estate funds by posting videos to YouTube channel with titles such as “Finances God’s Way” and “Indestructible Wealth.”
Mata, previously a financial advisor for Ameriprise Financial, has an “extensive disciplinary history,” according to the SEC.
Read the original article in Financial Advisor Magazine.
November 21st, 2014 at 9:40am
Commercial real estate developer and mortgage broker Bradley Holcom was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison.
Holcom, 57, pleaded guilty in July 2014 to committing wire fraud. He had sold approximately $50 million worth of promissory notes over 150 investors across the U.S., many of whom lost millions, through his Trust Deed Investment Program.
Holcom admitted that he had falsely promised the investors who purchased his notes that they would receive first liens on properties he was developing when he instead conveyed to them a lesser, weaker interest.
Read the original article in the Times of San Diego.
November 18th, 2014 at 9:49am
If you have time – maybe a long coffee break – you may want to read this fascinating article in Rolling Stone about the settlement between Attorney General Eric Holder, “his” Department of Justice and how time-after-time he has allowed banks that mislabeled and sold mortgage-backed securities to get off-the-hook by paying monetary fines.
This article shows that the upstart Occupy Movement has had some effect on President Obama, but still not enough to get meaningful justice for homeowners and institutional investors, both of which were financially beat-up by the banks. It reveals that the primary banker who is the focus of the article, Jamie Dimon of Chase Bank and much of upper-management, allegedly knew Chase was packaging subprime securities as “Alt-A” (a higher-quality category) and getting rid of them before the borrowers defaulted, saving Chase billions but again causing significant losses to the credit unions and small financial institutions that purchased them, not knowing these shoddy mortgages would blow-up in their faces.
Besides the research performed by Rolling Stone writer Matt Taibbi, much of the information comes from his interview with former Chase transaction manager Alayne Fleischman, an attorney by profession. Ms. Fleischman tells the actual story of how Jamie Dimon and Chase Bank wiggled out what she termed “criminal fraud” and how almost every government agency that should have investigated this and other mega-bank misdeeds (think: SEC) either dropped the ball, aided in the cover-up or dragged their feet to allow the statute of limitations to expire on prosecutions. A reluctant whistleblower, Ms. Fleischman is the model for the ethical behavior so devoid in most of the banks and the government agencies charged with protecting Americans.
How much do you want to bet that Eric Holder is going to end up working for his banking friends?
August 29th, 2014 at 10:59am
Delbert Joe Modlin, 63, has been practicing law since 1987. Earlier this week, he was arraigned on felony charges of financial elder abuse, grand theft and securities fraud in the case of a 90-year old and and his 66-year old daughter.
Court papers show that Modlin became their estate planner last year. He allegedly told the father to liquidate all his investments and convinced the daughter to invest $120,000 in a new cat litter box Modlin allegedly had invented.
What he didn’t tell either of them was that he is awaiting felony charges in Placer County after being accused of defrauding an elderly Auburn couple and selling their real estate and other assets without their approval. Modlin also didn’t disclose he had a a “severe gambling problem” and that in 2004 and 2012 he had filed bankruptcy, information that an investigator from the State had determined a “reasonable prudent investor would consider significant.”
The criminal cases were filed by he California Attorney General’s Bureau of Medi-Cal Fraud and Elder Abuse and are being prosecuted by Steven Muni.
Read the original article in the Sacramento Bee.
August 8th, 2014 at 7:21am
In 2012, Attorney General Kamala Harris arrested and charged four people from a Grass Valley real estate company with securities fraud, conspiracy and elder abuse for their alleged involvement in a scam that cost investors over $2.3 million.
Philip Lester, 66, and his sister Susan Laferte, 60, claimed they were broke and were provided public defenders by Nevada County. Lester’s wife, Ellen Lester, and Jonathan Blinder, later had the charges against them dropped.
Nevada County officials, claiming that the legal fees for Lester and Laferte, who ran Gold Country Lenders, will cost upwards of $600,000, want the state to pick up the costs of the pair’s defense since it was Harris who brought charges and whose office is prosecuting the case. Nevada County is small – just 100,000 residents – and says the money could be spent on either law enforcement or restoring public employee jobs that were cut.
Read the original article in SFGate.
July 11th, 2014 at 10:41am
Aldo Baccala, 73, a former real estate agent who pleaded no contents to a 141-count of criminal charges for a Ponzi scheme, was sentenced to 20 years in prison by Judge Gary Medvigy. Judge Medvigy also ordered Baccala to pay a $6.4 million fine for the havoc he wrecked on his investors, most of whom were financially ruined. Some of his victims were said to be close friends.
Prosecutors and Probation Department officials had recommended 137 years and four months in prison for the crimes, which included counts of securities fraud and grand theft with enhancements for elder financial abuse and white-collar crime. The crimes occurred from 2004 to 2008
Prior to sentencing, many victims testified how their life’s savings of over 40 years were wiped out by Baccala, who blamed the losses on the economic downturn. Baccala’s statements were countered by prosecutors, who said Baccala knowingly defrauded investors by issuing promissory notes backed by properties he didn’t own and that he used the monies he received to pay earlier investors, make risky stock market investments of course treat himself to a lavish lifestyle.
Read the original article in the Press Democrat.
December 16th, 2013 at 9:34am
James Duncan, who both masterminded the $142 million real estate and investment fraud that rocked Riverside County and who then cooperated with prosecutors to obtain convictions against his former colleagues, has had this plea-bargain sentence imposed.
Riverside County Superior Court Judge Michele Levine ordered Duncan to serve 19 years and eight months in state prison after accepting the recommendation of Chief Deputy District Attorney Vicki Hightower.
Duncan must also pay $3.4 million in restitution to 33 victims, who lived in several states.
James Duncan acted as a central witness in the trials of his former business partner Hendrix Montecastro and Montecastro’s mother Helen Pedrino in what prosecutors described was a massive Ponzi scheme. Montecastro and Pedrino have filed motions for new trials following their convictions.
Previous guilty pleas and sentences have been imposed on Maurice McLeod, a top associate, Charlie Sung Choi, Cindi Grace Kelly and Thuan Nhan Du.
Read the original article in the Press Enterprise.
December 12th, 2013 at 12:54pm
Daniel Greenberg, the attorney for Hendrix Montecastro and his mother Helen Pedrino, has filed a motion for a new trial eight months the pair were convicted by a Riverside County jury in a $142 million real estate investment fraud and securities scam.
Chief Deputy District Attorney Vicki Hightower is not surprised by the legal maneuver and said she is prepared to have prosecution witnesses available on January 21, when Riverside County Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Prevost said he would hear the motion.
Hendrix Montecastro was convicted of more than 300 felonies in the case, which prosecutors had alleged was a Ponzi scheme that fell apart when the real estate market collapsed. The 26 victims were said to have lost their life savings and homes as a result.
Helen Pedrino, the so-called “master recruiter,” of some of the victims, was convicted of 54 criminal charges, including a white-collar crime enhancement for felony theft or embezzlement.
Read the original article in the Press Enterprise.