March 23rd, 2017 at 9:41am
The following short sale fraud scam was printed on the California Association of Realtors website:
While we all are concerned about cybercrime and identity theft, it appears taking someone’s money the old-fashioned way has reappeared in short sale scams in Southern California. The alleged scams appear to follow the same basic format. A short sale agreement was entered into four to six months ago. The buyer made an initial deposit in the $5,000 to $15,000 range into the listing broker’s non-independent broker escrow. As with most short sales, the process takes several months and the selling agent is assured that the listing agent is working towards lender approval – it is just taking more time. Then the communication slows down, the selling agent begins to get concerned and calls the listing broker’s escrow. There is no answer and no return call and no other number to contact.
A case has been opened with the Long Beach Police Department, Financial Crimes Division. The officer in charge is Detective Robert Ryan (562) 570-7391. As of late December, there were approximately 20 victims. However, the C.A.R. Hotline has received more than 15 calls since the first of the year which have been referred to the Long Beach Police. The California Bureau of Real Estate is also aware of this case.
Additionally, the Los Angeles County Sheriff has made an arrest in what appears to be an identical scam involving at least 32 victims with a total loss of $498,000. To contact the LA Sheriff’s office call Detective Keith Clark at (562) 946-7217 or tips can be made anonymously at Crime Stoppers, (800) 222-TIPS (8477).
If you believe you or your buyer has fallen victim to a short sale scam, you should contact the police and the Bureau of Real Estate.
January 6th, 2017 at 10:15am
A Cerritos real estate broker was arrested for taking part in a two-year escrow fee scam that stole over $500,000 from over 30 victims.
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies arrested Mario Gonzalez, a licensed broker at MCR Escrow, located at 1800 Studebaker Road #700.
Gonzalez, 45, allegedly participated in a scam in which homes were fraudulently listed as short sales, investigators in the Sheriff’s fraud bureau said. Buyers were required to pay escrow fees to “secure” a property after they submitted their bids. None of the sales closed, yet the buyers’ fees were not returned to them.
Mario Gonzalez has also been reported to RipoffReport.com, presumably by some of his unhappy customers.
Investigators are looking for other victims and can contact Detective Keith Clark at 562-946-7217.
In the meantime, Gonzalez is being held in lieu of a $70,000 bail at the Norwalk Sheriff Station.
Read the original article in Los Cerritos News.
December 16th, 2016 at 12:09pm
Two men have been charged by the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office with allegedly committing real estate fraud that cost Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac at least $500,000.
Angelo Gabriel Naemi, 36, was charged with five counts of grand theft by false pretenses, and one count of conspiracy to commit grand theft. Steven Paul Gonzales, 61, was charged with one count of conspiracy to commit grand theft.
“The complaint alleges that Naemi, a real estate salesperson, and Gonzales, a real estate broker, conspired to falsify documents in association with numerous short sale transactions,” the District Attorney’s Office said. The complaint against both men also includes special allegations for aggravated white collar crime and excessive losses.
Gonzales became sole owner of CornerStone Real Estate in Santa Maria in 2012 while Naemi is listed as a sales associate with the firm which has an office at 411 E. Betteravia Road, Suite 101.
Read the original article on Noozhawk.
November 11th, 2016 at 11:48am
The following is a press release by the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office:
The Honorable Curtis Fiorini sentenced Shaima Hadayat and Harpreet Singh to 180 days in county jail for real estate fraud, specifically, short sale fraud. Singh also received 5 years formal probation and Hadayat received 3 years informal probation.
Broker Shaima Hadayat and Real Estate Agent Harpreet Singh were realtors for multiple short sale transactions in which they signed arm’s length transaction agreements under penalty of perjury. An investigation by the Office of Inspector General revealed the sellers were related to the buyers and after the transactions were completed, the sellers remained in their homes in violation of the agreements.
Both defendants conspired to facilitate and obtain commissions from these transactions. Singh also forged proof of funds on multiple offers to various realtors throughout Sacramento County.
Harpreet Singh pled no contest to a felony count of forgery and agreed to surrender his realtor license to the California Bureau of Real Estate. Shaima Hadayat pled no contest to a misdemeanor count of grand theft and agreed to surrender her broker license to the California Bureau of Real Estate.
The Office of the Inspector General was the investigating agency as the victims, Wells Fargo Bank and Bank of America, N.A., applied for and received federal Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) funds under the Capital Purchase Program (CPP).
This case was prosecuted by the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Real Estate Fraud Unit.
October 28th, 2016 at 9:37am
The following people have been indicted in relation to an alleged mortgage relief fraud scam that brought in $30 million, according to a press release by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California.
Chatsworth residents Yun Soon Matsuba, aka Dorothy Matsuba, 65; Thomas Matsuba, 64; Jane Matsuba Garcia, 40; Jamie Matsuba, 31; and Koreatown’s Young Park, 53, have each been charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, make false statements and commit identity theft.
The indictment alleges, the defendants ran businesses from 2005-2014 called Ownership Management Service LLC and Trust Holding Service LLC.
While they claimed to help homeowners get out from underwater mortgages by performing short sales, the defendants allegedly required the homeowners to deed properties to trusts they controlled, failed to continue making mortgage payments and submitted fraudulent and false short-sale purchase offers to the banks instead of performing the promised short sales.
October 28th, 2016 at 6:23am
Lillian Marquez, 41, of Stockton, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge John Mendez to three years and one month in prison for conspiring to commit mortgage fraud, according to Acting U.S. Attorney Phillip Talbert. Her co-defendant, Michael Keatts, 59 received the same sentence in September.
Marquez and Keatts operated Colonial Home and Business Services in Stockton and were licensed real estate agents. They supplied false information and documents to lenders on behalf of their clients in order for the clients to receive loans.
They also helped other clients commit short sale fraud by selling those clients’ homes to straw buyers, while the clients remained in the homes.
Read the original article in the Central Valley Business Times.
September 22nd, 2016 at 7:34pm
Reafael Sanchez, an Orange County, Florida real estate agent, is facing charges after federal prosecutors said he devised a short sale fraud scheme.
Sanchez is alleged to have concocted a scheme to help owners in foreclosure to file fraudulent bankruptcy paperwork. The bankruptcy stays would possibly give Sanchez enough time to conduct a short sale of the properties and earn himself a commission.
Federal prosecutors, though, said that over a two-year period, Sanchez collected money and assisted at least 30 homeowners facing foreclosure in filing fraudulent bankruptcies. All of the bankruptcies he helped his clients file were dismissed in 14 or 15 days, according to bankruptcy attorney Scott Shuker.
Sanchez, who faces up to five years in prison, has agreed to make a plea in the case, but a date hasn’t been set.
Read the original article in WFTV Orlando.
August 25th, 2016 at 12:31pm
Former Gophers basketball star Sam Jacobson once owned a home in Apple Valley, Minnesota.
In 2011, Jacobson sold his home in a short sale to his then-girlfriend, Traci Quam. He was supposed to move out per the lender’s requirements that the sale be arm’s-length, but Quam admitted he did not, in an interview with the Minnesota Commerce Fraud Bureau.
Traci Quam resold the home four months later for $538,000 and pocketed $176,000 in profit. She then used the money to purchase another home in Apply Valley. According to the complaint filed again both of them, “The day she closed on the Cobblestone Lake home, July 20, 2012, Sam Jacobson proposed to her.”
Sam Jacobson and Traci Quam have each been charged with one count of theft by false representation and one count of theft by swindle.
Prosecutors: why wasn’t the listing agent charged?
Read the original article in KMSP-TV and the Minnesota Star Tribune.
April 29th, 2016 at 12:48pm
Danville businessman Anthony Keslinke, 47, was sentenced to four years in prison by Judge Jon Tigar in the U.S. District Court in Oakland after previously pleading guilty to real estate fraud and money laundering schemes.
Keslinke’s sentence arose out of a guilty plea last year in which he admitted to devising schemes to short-sell properties and for accepting what he thought was drug money from an undercover Internal Revenue Service agent. He must also pay almost $1.3 million in restitution to his victims and to forfeit approximately $3 million in assets.
Read the original article in the Mercury News.
Read the article in the Antioch Herald to learn more about Anthony Keslinke‘s fraudulent short sales (short sale fraud) and the profits he made from it.
March 28th, 2016 at 5:53pm
Brothers and former real estate agents Adel and Atef Afkarian were sentenced to prison terms for operating a fraudulent “debt elimination” scheme as well as a complicated short sale fraud that ripped off lenders in the San Diego area.
Adel Afkarian was sentenced to 18 months by U.S. District Judge John Houston and Atef Afkarian received 13 months. The judge ordered the brothers to pay more than $5.5 million in restitution to their victims. Their licenses had previously been revoked by the California Bureau of Real Estate.
After identifying underwater homeowners (including themselves), the Afkarians recorded fraudulent deeds (title fraud) that showed the loans on the properties had been extinguished. They then sold the properties to unaware buyers. The original mortgage lenders, who did not know about the fraudulent title documents, were not paid. This included their own $1.4 million mortgage.
At the same time, the Afkarians conspired to transact fraudulent short sales for underwater clients through a simultaneous “double escrow” scheme involving the use of straw buyers.
Read the original article in Fox 5 News.