California Real Estate Fraud Report

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Archive for April, 2009

Ponzi Scheme in Marin County May Rack Up $27M in Losses

April 26th, 2009 at 11:26am

A civil lawsuit filed in wealthy Marin County alleges that the principals of a real estate investment firm defrauded over 100 victims-plaintiffs of at least $27 million of investment monies in a Ponzi scheme that has attracted the attention of the California Department of Justice.

Investment adviser Gary Armitage, his firm AGA Financial, business associates James Koenig of Asset Real Estate Investment Co. and Jeffrey Guidi are the defendants in the lawsuit. Armitage has filed bankruptcy, claiming assets of between $1 million and $10 million while owing his creditors $50 million to $100 million.

Walnut Creek attorney Richard Miller is representing the 122 plaintiffs and is attempting to have the lawsuits against the defendants – filed in Marin, Sonoma, Alameda an Shasta counties – consolidated and tried before one judge in Marin County.

Read more in the San Jose Mercury News

Victorville Fraudsters Sentenced in Real Estate Fraud Case

April 26th, 2009 at 10:23am

Joe Warf, age 51, and his wife Tracy Warf, age 41, were sentenced to a paltry (in my opinion) 250 and 365 days respectively for deceiving a 94-year old man into transferring title of his home into their names.

Both defendants were convicted of charges related to real estate fraud and financial elder abuse.

Read the brief Article in the Bear Valley News.

More Allegations of Fraud in Cuesta Title Case

April 9th, 2009 at 9:50pm

Cuesta Title is once again in the news, as the woman who served as its North County branch manager and senior escrow officer is accused of conflict of interest and mishandling of funds given to escrow by an investor.

Melanie Schneider is accused in a lawsuit by investor Michael Hawkins of mishandling Hawkins’ money, failing to give him title to a property his money was supposed to purchase in the Vista del Hombre golf course development. Hawkins states that Schneider did not have an arms-length distance from developer Kelly Gearhart, but actually lived on Gearhart’s property in his guesthouse when Schneider separated from her husband.

Read the well-written Full Article in the San Luis Obispo Tribune.

San Diego Real Estate Broker Had Unique Stimulus Plan

April 9th, 2009 at 9:29pm

Stanley Gentry is a real estate broker in the San Diego area who came up with his own private stimulus plan: according to charges filed by the U.S. Attorney’s office, Gentry “rented” out his real estate license to a Los Angeles street gang member and his crew for use in a real estate fraud and mortgage fraud conspiracy.

Darnell Bell, a known member of the Lincoln Park street gang in Los Angeles, is alleged to have earned $9 million for his efforts in hiring and managing other gang members in what may amount to a $100 million fraud that required inflated appraisals of San Diego properties, straw buyers to apply for loans for the over-appraised properties, and other license real estate professionals to make the fraud work.

Read the Full Article in Reuters.

“Members of the Church” Rob Their Fellow Mormons

April 2nd, 2009 at 8:27pm

Terrance George Tucker and his wife Sonya Tucker, both 64, were living the good life in Stillwater, Oklahoma in their million dollar motor home on a relative’s property. They were, that is, until federal agents showed up and arrested the former Thousand Oaks residents for bank fraud, accusing them of stealing from investors from their own church.

The Tuckers operated Tucker Mortgage in Thousand Oaks and San Diego, described by various sources as a “mill” that churned out fraudulent loan applications that were submitted to including Washington Mutual, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Chevy Chase Bank and Downey Savings. Unsuspecting friends and church members were the source of the Tucker’s investment funds. Over $31 million was generated by their fraudulent activities and that of their relative in Oklahoma.

Both Tuckers pleaded guilty to two counts of bank fraud each, and if the public and their victims are lucky, will be sentenced to up to 30 years in prison for each count.

Read the Full Article in the Ventura County Star.

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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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