February 21st, 2011 at 6:04pm
Four residents from the North County area who admitted their roles in a $55 million mortgage fraud conspiracy have received prison sentences. The four admitted lying and/or providing false documents to lenders in order to receive home loans.
A total of 19 people have been named in the 51-count indictment, according to the U.S. attorney’s office in San Diego.
U.S. District Judge Jeffrey T. Miller handed down sentences as follows: Jonathan J. Garcia, who worked at Giron’s Financial Realty Group in Oceanside received 18 months behind bars; Laneka Chatton, also from Giron’s, received 12 months; Ivan Gil, who worked at Dream Homes and Loans in Vista received 12 months; and Maria Echeverria, who owned AmStar Funding, a mortgage company in Vista, received a sentence of 12 months and one day in prison.
Read the original article in the North County Times and the San Diego Union Tribune.
February 21st, 2011 at 5:43pm
Two women in the Tulare area received what I think were light sentences for conspiring with straw buyers to submit fraudulent loan applications to purchase homes.
Alma Reyes, 41, of Porterville was the purported ringleader, recruiting other crooked real estate agents. She received a two-year sentence after being convicted of 14 felony counts of conspiracy, grand theft, forgery and falsifying loan documents.
Reyes’ partner in crime, Nelda Garcia, 48, served 210 days in County mail, was put on probation for 11 years and is banned from working in the real estate industry. She was convicted of the same charges and also notary fraud.
One couple who acted as straw buyers was able to purchase two homes within five years worth $1.1 million, even though their monthly income was only $3,000.
When are authorities going to get serious and start prosecuting straw buyers? They are no less culpable and there is no deterrent to others considering acting as straw buyers as long as there is no punishment.
Read the original article in the Visalia Times.
February 18th, 2011 at 10:30am
Two Oceanside men thought they were committing the perfect crime: re-selling “bank-owned” properties multiple times. Now they’ve been arrested in a sting by Carlsbad police and are facing charges of conspiracy to commit a crime, six charges of filing a false instrument and four charges of grand theft.
Wesley Christman, 27, of Cristman Title and Loan Investments had already sold a home on Westport Lane with tenants to an investor. The investor liked the deal so much, he entered into a second escrow with Christman. But when the tenants called in a frenzy, saying deputies from the San Diego Sheriff’s Department and a representative from the bank had appeared at their door to evict them, the investor called police.
Wesley Christman was arrested by police at a Starbucks in Vista after they observed him signing the closing documents with the investor and the notary, who was unaware of the fraud. Also arrested and charged was Michael Mayfield, 30, an employee of Cristman Title and Loan Investments.
Read the original article in the North County Times.
February 17th, 2011 at 9:10am
Norman Greenbaum was a one-hit wonder with his 60s song “Spirit in the Sky.” Now the 68 year-old writer is embroiled in a lawsuit, in which he has counterclaimed that a former girlfriend 30 years his junior who is suing him for $1 million in palimony committed financial elder abuse by luring him on the Internet with promises of sex and romance, all for the purpose of separating him from his money.
South Carolina resident Tracy E. Outlaw (the name should have been a hint) moved in with Greenbaum as his “personal assistant”, convinced him to give her lump sums of cash, and according to her palimony lawsuit, promised to make her a one-third beneficiary of his estate, add her name to the title on his house and give her another $100,000 to remodel it. Apparently there was also a buy-out agreement whereby Outlaw would get $150,000 if the relationship failed.
Read the original article in the Press Democrat.
February 17th, 2011 at 9:00am
Actor Mickey Rooney, an actor with a decades-long career in the film industry, has been granted a restraining order against his step-children Chris Aber and Christina Aber. They are the children of Rooney’s eighth wife, January.
The 90 year old actor, apparently still in good health, claims in court documents that he has been “effectively a prisoner in his own home”. Christ Aber is also accused of taking over Rooney’s finances (elder financial abuse) and forcing the actor against his will to accept performance engagements.
Read the original article in ABCNews and CBSNews.
February 17th, 2011 at 8:50am
Mortgage broker Iftikhar Ahmad, 40, of Stockton, has been sentenced to 21 months in prison after pleading guilty in 2008 to, to “multiple counts of mail fraud relating to a scheme involving the fraudulent submission of mortgage loan applications.” Following his prison term, Ahmad must also submit to three years of supervised release and provide restitution of $382,750 to his victims.
Ahmad used his company, I & R Investment Properties LLC, to buy/sell properties that he funded with Long Beach Mortgage Company. But he committed loan fraud / mortgage fraud against the lender by providing the buyers with money for the downpayments and assisted the buyers in submitting false income and employment document in their loan applications. Along the way, he also over-valued the prices of the homes (appraisal fraud).
Iftikhar Ahmad’s co-conspirators who previously pleaded guilty are John Ngo, a loan processor with Long Beach Mortgage Company, William Bridge, a loan broker operating The Loan Center in San Francisco and Paul Bridge, a loan broker at The Loan Center. The only defendant still waiting for trial is Joel Bradford, a former account executive at Long Beach Mortgage.
Read the original article in the Central Valley Business Times.
February 17th, 2011 at 8:38am
The California Public Employees’ Retirement System, aka CalPERS, has filed suit against Lehman Bros. Holdings Inc., its top executives and bond underwriters of defrauding the $229 billion pension funds by failing to disclose that Lehman funded risky investments that through heavy borrowing from 2004-2007.
CalPERS is the largest public employees pension plan in the nation. When Lehman Bros. filed for bankruptcy protection in 2008, CalPERS owned 3.9 million shares of Lehman common stock and about $700 million worth of Lehman bonds.
Named as defendants in the lawsuit are Chief Executive Richard S. Fuld Jr., Citigroup Global Markets Inc., Mellon Financial Markets and Wells Fargo Securities.
Read the original article in the Los Angeles Times.
February 17th, 2011 at 8:25am
Chesley Sullenberger, the pilot who skillfully land his airliner on the Hudson River in 2009, and his wife, Lorraine, are suing several parties for real estate fraud, alleging that they were fooled into paying more than the property was worth. They want to have the transaction nullified and the alleged overpayments returned to them.
The defendants are Sonoma County Bank, brokerage Grubb & Ellis and Cherie Huillade, the Grubb & Ellis senior VP who brokered the sale in 2002. Huillade contends that when the Sullenbergers purchased the Jiffy Lube franchise in the city of Paradise in Butte County, the property was leased and they were receiving an income stream. Any losses, she says, could simply be attributed to reversals in the real estate market.
Read the original article in the Press Democrat.
February 11th, 2011 at 8:34am
An organization promising to help homeowners in foreclosure by making their mortgages “disappear” is the apparent target of an investigation by the FBI in Sacramento and other states.
A number of now-former owners say that Shon-Te-East-A and its “archbishop” John Michael DiChiara promised to eliminate their deeds of trust and save their homes by requiring upfront fees (called an “initiation” fee, presumably to the church) of over $5,000, monthly payments of $1,500 to DiChiara and a quitclaim deed signed by the homeowners. Chris Estrada and Kirk Heintz, both of San Clemente, quitclaimed their homes to DiChiara. Wells Fargo Bank is now suing Heintz, claiming he was part of the fraud to put a cloud on the home’s title.
Read the full article in News10.
February 11th, 2011 at 7:58am
For a man accused of being part of the largest mortgage fraud scheme in Bakersfield’s history, Carl Cole is flat broke.
Claims by his wife that they are $3 million in debt and that they have only $2,500 in their bank account are part of the reason prosecutors believe Cole is a flight risk and should be detained. He is currently free on two $10,000 bonds.
The California Department of Real Estate (DRE) revoked Carl Cole’s real estate broker’s license in 2008. You can read numerous postings about Carl Cole, David Crisp and their real estate firm Crisp and Cole in the California Real Estate Fraud Report.
Read the full article in the Bakersfield Californian.