December 18th, 2009 at 10:20am
Sonya Tucker, aka Cheri Tucker, and Terrance Tucker, aka Terry Tucker, are each going to federal prison for approximately 10 years.
The husband and wife team of mortgage brokers and real estate agents pleaded guilty to bank fraud after being prosecuted for processing fraudulent loan applications. They were originally charged with scamming real estate investors, many elderly, after promising them 12 percent rates of returns.
The Tuckers were prosecuted by Assistant U.S. District Attorney Mark Aveis, who said “There are plenty of federal prison beds for criminals like the Tuckers”.
Read the Full Article in the Thousand Oaks Acorn.
December 18th, 2009 at 10:09am
United Commercial Bank, based in San Francisco, may be the first recipient of TARP funds to go belly up, at the cost of $300 million. Former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, the architect of the TARP raping of U.S. taxpayers, let loose the sum, chirping it was only for “health” lending institutions, although UCBH had just posted a loss for the third quarter ending in September 2008.
United Commercial Bank is (or was) the son of United Bank, a thrift also based in San Francisco that failed in the mid-1980s from its practice of “reckless construction lending”, according to Richard Newsom, a retired bank and thrift regulator.
Besides winning first place as a spectacular failure, UCBH was the first U.S. bank to wholly purchase a bank in China, buying the Business Development Bank of Shanghai in March 2007. Considering the long downturn already in motion the world economy at the time, the decision was a fatal blunder.
Read the Full Article, very well-written, in the San Francisco Chronicle.
December 18th, 2009 at 9:54am
According to a U.S. Attorney newly nominated by President Obama and confirmed by the U.S. Senate, the Central Valley is the nation’s leader in mortgage fraud indictments.
Benjamin Wagner was appointed on November 5 and has already hired two investigators who will be dedicated to mortgage fraud indictments. In addition, Wagner’s appointment last week as the chair of a national mortgage fraud task force, shows he is determined to clean house in a region of California that has been the topic of frequent postings to the California Real Estate Fraud Report.
Whether being Ground Zero for mortgage fraud prosecutions is a reflection of a higher level of prosecutorial vigilance or a lack of resources and/or interest in other jurisdictions is not known.
Read the Full Article in the Sacramento Business Journal.
December 11th, 2009 at 11:56am
In the ongoing legal battles fought by investors and creditors to recover monies lost through their dealings with Hurst Financial, Cuesta Title and developer Kelly Gearheart, the bankruptcy trustee assigned to the voluntary bankruptcy case of Hurst Financial’s president is alleging fraud by Miller and his wife Laurel Miller.
Jerry Namba, the bankruptcy trustee, filed a lawsuit against Laurel Miller, in which it is alleged she and her husband illegally transferred the proceeds from the sale of their home into Laurel Miller’s name in order to defraud creditors. According to Namba, the FBI, the US Attorney’s Office and an impaneled federal grand jury are also investigating Jay Hurst Miller for criminal wrongdoing.
Read the Full Article in the San Luis Obispo Tribune.
December 11th, 2009 at 11:34am
Congregants of the Live Oak Community Church in Oakley are being tested for their ability to forgive after their former pastor, Arcadio “Larry” Pineda, was accused last spring by church elders of fraudulently obtaining a loan that was collateralized against the church’s building. Pastor Pineda was later charged by the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office with grand theft and two counts of filing false documents.
The small church, which has only 40 members, uses the donations it receives for feeding and clothing the needy.
Read the Full Article in the Contra Costa Times.
December 11th, 2009 at 11:11am
Joseph Babijian, a Beverly Hills Realtor prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s office for being part of a mortgage fraud conspiracy group that saw Lehman Brothers Bank and others ripped off of tens of millions of dollars, has escaped prison, something his colleagues Kyle Grasso and Lila Rizk, have not.
Detailed in articles published in earlier postings of the California Real Estate Fraud Report and other news publications, the allegations were that a sophisticated and tight-knit group of real estate agents (Babijian and Grasso), mortgage brokers and developers and business partners Mark Alan Abrams and Charles Elliott Fitzgerald bought properties in high-priced zip codes of West Los Angeles using straw buyers and then obtained financing from Lehman Brothers for inflated property appraisals, courtesy of appraiser Lila Rizk.
Pleading guilty for their roles in the conspiracy were Nicole LaViolette, 37, a loan processor from Palm Springs; Jamieson Matykowski, 33, a real estate worker (what’s that?) from Laguna Niguel; and Timothy Holland, 35, an escrow officer from Santa Ana; and Richard Maize, 54, a mortgage banker who co-founded Americorp Funding.
Read the Full Article in the Beverly Hills Courier. A detailing of Richard Maize’s role in the conspiracy can be found in in this FBI press release.