November 26th, 2010 at 11:49am
Three sisters have been charged in connection with a $13 million real estate fraud that involves over 20 properties in scam involving more than 20 properties located mostly in the Antelope Valley, north of Los Angeles.
Brenda Felix, 52, is charged with 75 counts. Her sisters Lessa Patten, 37 and Cynthia Emerson, 58 are charged with 37 and seven counts respectively and are alleged to have played the role of straw buyers in a 76-count criminal complaint that includes grand theft, attempted grand theft, procuring and offering a false or forged instrument; forgery; perjury; and failure to file income tax returns. Felix is alleged to have set up the plan to purchase the properties using straw buyers.
Awaiting arraignment are Nelson Cabral, 52, and Bryan Deters, 50, both of whom are alleged to have facilitated the loan process for the straw buyers. Two others, Valentine Awosika, 55, and James Jackson, 62, are the subjects of arrest warrants in the case.
Read the full article in the Downey Patriot.
November 26th, 2010 at 11:37am
A federal grand jury has indicted Monica Elizabeth Frommer, 33, on charges of 12 counts of bank fraud, loan fraud, wire fraud, and making unlawful monetary transactions. According to the indictment, Frommer submitted stated income loan applications to National City Bank and Washington Mutual Bank from 2004 through 2007, indicating that she and her husband earned almost $50,000 per month. She also is alleged to have submitted falsified bank records to confirm their assets, and as a result, was funded almost $2 million in mortgage loans.
If convicted of all the charges, Frommer could face up to 290 years in federal prison.
Read the full article in the National Mortgage Professional.
November 26th, 2010 at 11:27am
A 23 year old man has been convicted in relation to a real estate fraud in Ventura County in which he purchased three homes by filing fraudulent loan documentation.
Juan Banales Venegas, aka “Chicken Little”, was arrested in connection with a $35 million mortgage fraud that caused 13 other individuals to be indicted for filing false loan applications. Banales Venegas was a 7-Eleven employee when he was allegedly recruited to work as an unlicensed assistant to work at Century 21 Premier Real Estate in Oxnard. Unlicensed assisistants may not, as part of their duties, solicit buyers or sellers or homes, yet according to an article in the Ventura County Star News, he was given a script, cold-called homeowners and was paid commissions. He later purchased three homes by filing fraudulent loan applications.
Miriam Sukey Estrada and Maria Del Rocio Partida testified against Banales Venegas, whose attorney has indicated he will appeal. Estrada operated Platimum Power Mortgage in Oxnard and del Rocio Partida ran Century 21 Premier Real Estate. Estrada also operated Premier Tax Service in Oxnard. Both women have pleaded guilty to charges filed against them and will be sentenced along with Banales Venegas in January 2011.
Read the full article in the Ventura County Star.
November 26th, 2010 at 10:54am
William Becerra and Heather Molinari are two distressed homeowners who would not recommend Investors Finance, Inc. Both paid the Rancho Bernardo-based company upwards of $1,400 to help them restructure their loan payments. They also say they got no help from the firm or its owner Michael Monaco and neither got a refund when they requested it.
Monaco, who, according to an article in the San Diego Union Tribune, has been sued at least six times (lost two cases, settled two, two are pending), was ordered by the California Department of Real Estate (DRE) in August to stop taking upfront payments. According to the article, Michael Monaco states he has restructured Investors Finance, Inc. with a plan to get the borrowers to sign over their homes to him, which he will then lease back to them at a lower payment. Sounds scary! Company files from a former sales agent do not show any completed loan modifications.
Read this link with the San Diego Union Tribune for a summary of the six lawsuits against Michael Monaco.
November 26th, 2010 at 10:27am
Telesfor Lucero Jr. lived in a home in the North Highlands area of Sacramento for 15 years before he fell victim to a mortgage rescue scam. Lucero, who had injured his back on the job in 2005, was waiting for his workers’ compensation payments but became delinquent on his mortgage payments. In stepped Timothy Hogue, who offered Lucero a mortgage rescue plan, which apparently consisted of having Lucero sign over his home to a Kim Roth, who would make the payments, lease the home back to Lucero and sell it back to him once he started receiving his workers’ compensation funds. Instead, Kim Roth sold the title to another party and Lucero lost his home.
Superior Court Judge Louis Mauro order Timothy Hogue to compensate Lucero $30,000 but the victim has received only one payment of $53.12, even though Hogue is thought to be working. That’s because budget cuts in Sacramento County have created staff shortages, so there appears to be no one enforcing the court’s order.
Read the full article in the Sacramento Bee.
November 26th, 2010 at 10:14am
A mortgage rescue scam has cost a couple their dream home in Fresno.
Patty and Jody Farmer lived in their dream home in the Central Valley for approximately 11 years along with their grandchildren. When their adjustable rate mortgage was going to be reset in 2008, making the payments unaffordable for the mostly-retired couple, they turned to US Loan Auditors, Inc. which had sent a solicitation letter to them. US Loan Auditors, Inc., which according to the California State Attorney General’s Office, finds its clients through direct mailing, told the Farmers that they could conduct a “forensic loan audit” of their mortgage to find possible “mortgage violations” committed by the lender. This information would then be used to (somehow) convince the lender to offer the Farmers a loan modification. US Loan Auditors, Inc. told the Farmers to stop making their mortgage payments, which triggered a Notice of Default (NOD) from the lender. In the meantime, US Loan Auditors, Inc. charged the Farmers $1,000 a month for seven months and its representative told them the company attorney would take their case to court against the lender for the 10 violations it found.
The California State Attorney General’s Office has filed a $60 million lawsuit against US Loan Auditors, Inc. on October 6 according to the Fresno Bee, seeking restitution for all of its victims, including now, the Farmers, whose home was foreclosed. There is also a Better Business Bureau Report that gives them an F rating (their worst possible rating) but refers to them as US Loan Auditors LLC.
Read the full article in the Fresno Bee.
November 19th, 2010 at 11:25am
Attorneys for bank officers and directors of lending institutions that failed due to possible fraud and breach of fiduciary duty can expect some of their clients to be charged in lawsuits by the FDIC, which is seeking to recoup some of its losses due to the collapse of the housing market nationwide.
Richard Osterman, the FDIC’s acting general counsel, has said that the FDIC only sends out letters after “careful investigation.” Jeffrey A. Tisdale, a Los Angeles-based attorney who represents officers for five of the banks, said that the letters he has seen are “very detailed” and are eight to ten single-spaced pages of alleged wrongdoing.
The FDIC is hoping that many of the targeted officials will come forward and settle their cases, but if not, will file lawsuits. Criminal charges could also be part of what some of the former officials could be facing.
Pasadena-based IndyMac Bank was the first lending institution to be served with papers in a civil lawsuit, in July 2009, which seeks $300 million in damages for granting construction and development loans that were high risk.
Read the full article by Scott Reckard in the Los Angeles Times.
November 19th, 2010 at 9:07am
A Sacramento-area man has been charged with wire fraud for allegedly scamming investors out of $11 million.
According to U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wagner, Christopher Jackson, 43, solicited people to invest in real estate between 2005 and 2009 under his company name Genesis Innovations. Jackson is accused of investing less than $2.5 million of the funds and using the rest to buy himself a BMW, lease a Lamborghini and Range Rover and fund his lavish tastes in food, hotels and jewelry.
Read the full article in the Central Valley Business Times.
November 10th, 2010 at 7:01pm
A man who earlier fled to Thailand to escape the long arm of the law has pleaded guilty to 29 felony counts against him.
Ronald Paul Shade, 39, allocuted to real estate fraud, grand theft, financial elder abuse and filing forged documents with the San Bernardino County Recorder’s Office. For his crimes, San Bernardino Superior Court Judge Michael Dest sentenced Shade to nine years and order him to repay $3.597 million to his victims.
The first victim to notify the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office about Shade was Yachiyo Haney, 68, who lost her life savings of $435,000 to him. Shade had operated Orange Crest Realty and advertised in publications such as the Los Angeles Times, promising returns of up to 18% to investors.
Read the full article in the Victorville Daily Press.
November 10th, 2010 at 6:50pm
An unlicensed real estate agent has been charged by the Orange County District Attorney’s Office with seven felony counts of grand theft and one misdemeanor count of operating a real estate business without having a license.
Arthur Gonzales Diaz, 56, of Anaheim, is cited in the OC Weekly for having scammed a number of Latino victims in various real estate fraud schemes. The article states that Diaz’ license was suspended in 1998, but this writer can find no record of Diaz on the California Department of Real Estate’s (DRE) list of licensed or previously licensed agents.
What is most interesting about this article is that Diaz has been accused of running his illegal operations out of a RE/MAX office and a Century 21 office, both located in Orange County. His corporations were called Trans-World International Securities, Inc., International Marketing Network Corporation, and Banco International Realty, Inc.
The crimes Diaz is accused of run the entire gamut of real estate fraud, including mortgage fraud, short sale fraud and loan modification fraud / loan modification scams.
If you believe you are a victim of Arthur Gonzalez Diaz, contact Supervising District Attorney Investigator Ron Frazier at 714-347-8691 at the Orange County District Attorney’s Office. The OCDA’s prosecutor is Senior Deputy District Attorney Peter Pierce of the Major Frauds Unit / Real Estate and Mortgage Fraud Team.
Read the full article in the OC Weekly.