California Real Estate Fraud Report

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Archive for April, 2011

Jeff Davi Leaving as Real Estate Commissioner

April 26th, 2011 at 6:58pm

Real Estate Commissioner Jeff Davi, who was appointed by former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and served during both the upswing and downfall of California’s real estate market, is leaving his post. Davi will return to Monterey and practice real estate again along with spending more time with his family. Not surprisingly, Jeff Davi’s broker license is in good standing.

Davi, who was in charge when the number of real estate licenses in California swelled to 549,000 also oversaw a record number of prosecutions for real estate fraud and mortgage fraud. This includes 10,000 disciplinary actions that were completed.

Governor Brown has not announced who he will appoint to replace Jeff Davi.

Read the original article in BusinessWire.

Five Men Arrested in Riverside Mortgage Fraud

April 26th, 2011 at 6:48pm

Five men at a mortgage brokerage have been charged in connection with falsifying or forging loan documents and identity theft in a mortgage fraud scheme that involved friends and family.

Jose Elias Ochoa Jr., 54, was a licensed real estate salesperson (his was license revoked in 2010) employed as a manager at Solco Financial Services in Corona. He, Erasmo Ochoa, 58, Rey Ochoa Jr., Joe Montoya  and Julio Zamarripawere face multiple charges for a mortgage fraud scheme that operated in 2006 and 2007.

The five are believed to have recruited straw buyers who were friends, relatives and other associates and then used their good credit to buy multiple houses within a short period.  According to the Riverside County District Attorney’s Offfice, the identities of 12 people were used to set up documentation to purchase 39 properties for at least $5.4 million.

The notary employed by Solco Financial Services stated that Jose Ochoa would sign documents in other people’s names (forgery) and that she then notarized them without meeting the parties to the transactions (notary fraud).

Read the original article in the North County Times.

Paralegal Pleads Out in Loan Modification Case

April 26th, 2011 at 10:50am

Albert Carazolez, the owner of Quick Action Paralegal Services in Porterville, has  pleaded no contest to 21 individual charges having to do with violating the prohibition from collecting fees as a “foreclosure consultant” with respect to offering loan modification services. One or more of those charges is also for the unauthorized practice of law.

Carazolez, 49, is out on bail while awaiting sentencing of one year in County jail by the Tulare County Superior Court this May. He has also been ordered to pay restitution of $19,875 to his victims, many of whom are fellow Hispanics who trusted Carazolez.

One of Albert Carazolez’ victims is Porterville resident Joaquin Uriostegui, who paid Carazolez $1,000 in upfront costs (illegal) to help modify the loan to Uriostegui’s home. An investigator with the Tulare County District Attorney’s Office told Uriostegui that he was Carazolez’ 89th fraud victim.

For his part, Carazolez has come out swinging, threatening to sue Uriostegui and others for defamation and slander. Uriostegui is quoted in the Porterville Recorder as saying that he believes the sentence and restitution against Carazolez are insufficient.

Read the original article in the Porterville Recorder.

Owner of Investment Group Indicted in Ponzi Scheme

April 26th, 2011 at 10:23am

Sacramento resident Garry Bradford, 62, has been indicted for wire fraud in a real estate investment fraud case.

Bradford owned and operated a real estate investment club called Millenium Capital Group, Inc. Investors were told their money would be used to purchase real estate but Garry Bradford allegedly did little investing. As is typical in a Ponzi scheme, many of the newer investors’ funds were used to pay the earlier investors, who were promised 18 percent returns.

Read the original article in the Sacramento Bee.

Granite Bay Man Arrested, Charged in Ponzi Scheme

April 26th, 2011 at 10:16am

Royce Newcomb, 49, of Granite Bay,  has been arraigned on wire fraud charges in connection with a Ponzi scheme that solicited investors to put money into purchasing foreclosed homes (real estate investment fraud).

Newcomb’s ploy to convince the investors his operation was legitimate was to tell them he was placing their funds into escrow with Contour Escrow Services Inc. Contour Escrow Services Inc. was run by Barry Winnett, who holds a real estate salesperson’s license but does not have a license to run an escrow business. Barry Winnett pleaded guilty to wire fraud in December 2010 and is awaiting a possible 20 year prison term when he is sentence in June.

The Placer County Sheriff turned over the case to the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate and prosecute.

Read the original article in the Roseville Press Tribune.

Granada Hills Agents Arrested for Escrow Fraud

April 22nd, 2011 at 10:31am

Two licensed real estate agents have been arrested and charged with six counts of grand theft, including allegations of fraud and embezzlement, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. They are accused of stealing up to $1 million from people wanting to purchase homes.

Leroy M. Sennette, 80, of Granada Hills, a licensed broker, and Neelam “Nancy” Bhatia, 50, of Porter Ranch, a licensed real estate agent and owner of Click and List Realty Inc. are alleged to have taken the victims’ money for their own use that should have been deposited into escrow or other trust accounts.

Bhatia also owned Home Club International, Inc. in Granada Hills, with her husband.

Leroy Sennette’s real estate broker license has been revoked, as has the real estate license of Neelam Bhatia.

Read the original article in the Contra Costa Times.

Fortuna Loan Officer Charged in Elder Financial Abuse Case

April 21st, 2011 at 9:01am

Delores Reeves, 55, was arrested and charged with grand theft by means of fiduciary trust, grand theft by means of an assumed character, elder abuse, identity theft and fraud, according to the Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office.

The D.A.’s office began investigating Delores Reeves after a 71 year-old women initiated a complaint. Humboldt County District Attorney Investigator William Honsal said that Reeves had been operating a Ponzi scheme. She allegedly falsified deeds of trust (title fraud) and other loan documents (loan fraud) in order to convince her investors that their money was secure, but in reality just kept the money for herself.

Reeves, who posted bail, was immediately terminated by her employer iServe Residential Lending after they learned of the charges and her arrest.

Delores Reeves’ real estate license with the DRE shows no disciplinary action as of this posting.

Read the original article in the Humboldt Beacon.

Case of Phony French Countess Set for Trial

April 20th, 2011 at 11:58am

Fact is stranger than fiction.

This has to be the strangest case of alleged real estate fraud I have ever heard of.

A Fresno-area woman named Genevieve Sanders, is accused by an Orange County couple of faking her death with the assistance of her physician-husband in order to inflate the value of the ranch they purchased from the two.

While working as a waitress, Genevieve Sanders figured out she could make more tips by pretending she was born in France. According to her first husband – a mental health expert – Sanders reinvented herself as Genevieve Marie de Montremare, a woman born of French royalty and even went to court to get her name changed legally. Husband #1, Gary Hoffman, eventually tired of his wife’s deception and divorced her.

Sanders, who was born in Burbank, California in 1962, then married Dr. Michael Weilert, 60. Weilert is director of pathology and clinical laboratories for Community Regional Medical Centers and is also a founding partner of Pathology Associates, located in nearby Clovis. She established the International Friesian Show Horse Association (IFSHA) and hosted popular competitions that drew equestrians and judges from international circles.

Enter Brian Gwartz and his wife, Cheryl Skigin, the Orange County couple. According to their lawsuit, filed in Fresno County Superior Court, Sanders / de Montremare faked her own death with the assistance of her physician-husband (he admits signing the death certificate) in order to make her horse ranch more valuable. Gwartz, Skigin and their attorney claim that Sanders has thus far eluded being deposed. Their lawsuit seeks the return of the purchase price of the property, interest, damages and attorney’s fees.

What a fascinating story of alleged real estate fraud and title fraud, if the charges of the Weilerts’ filing a false deed are proven to be true.

Read the original article – extensive and very well-written – in the Fresno Bee.

Jail Time for Title Fraud in Rancho Cucamonga

April 20th, 2011 at 11:18am

Gina Marie Tarallo, 44, has been sentenced to one year in jail after pleading guilty to grand theft and filing a forged document with the San Bernardino County Recorder’s Office. The victim found out about the forgery and contacted authorities after she discovered that Tarallo had forged her signature on the grant deed to the victim’s property.

Contrast this sentence to that of the post below, where the defendants committed more extensive fraud in Orange County, yet were sentenced to only 180 days in jail.

Read the original article in the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin.

Light Sentence for Executive Who Committed Real Estate Fraud

April 20th, 2011 at 10:54am

Michael John Bell, a former executive of Irvine-based Landmark Equities Group, has been sentenced to three years of informal probation and ordered to make restitution in return for pleading guilty to conspiracy to defraud another of property, a misdemeanor real estate fraud charge.

Bell, 33, was hired by James Merritt Eaton, 61, and his son Brian Chandler Eaton, 29 when James Eaton set up Landmark Equities Group, which worked with Quick Loan Funding, the now-defunct subprime mortgage lender. The Eatons had faced a number of counts of felony grand theft and identity theft, all of which were dismissed in exchange for their guilty pleas to one charge of conspiracy to defraud another of property. Their sentences were 180 days in jail and three years of informal probation.

In my opinion, all three got off easy. Some of the accusations against them included accessing accounts with legitimate appraisals for properties and removing negative comments in order to obtain higher appraisals. This was a common form of appraisal fraud during the subprime era and benefited the defendants and lenders because their commissions are tied to the amount of the loan.

Read the original article in the Beverly Hills Courier and the Corona del Mar Patch.

© Copyright 2007-2017 Monique Bryher

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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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