California Real Estate Fraud Report

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Archive for November, 2011

Atlanta Deputies Refuse to Evict 103-Year Old

November 30th, 2011 at 3:59pm

JPMorgan Chase has temporarily lost the battle to evict an almost 104-year old woman and her 83-year old daughter from the Atlanta home they have shared for many years.

Chase, which is servicing the loan for mortgage holder Deutsche Bank, had approved the eviction, which Vita Lee and her daughter had been fighting apparently for several years. But when the deputies from the Fulton County Sheriff’s Department and the movers showed up, they decided to walk away rather than forcefully remove the women.

While this posting is not about fraud, it is about the human side of the housing recession and the underreporting of the suffering that occurs.

Read the article and watch the video on MSNBC.com.

Twin Brothers Arrested for Stealing from Vacant Homes

November 28th, 2011 at 5:18pm

Here’s a new business model for the criminally industrious:

Brothers Julio and Juan Villaneuva, 37-year old twins, were arrested by the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department and charged with theft and conspiracy. Undercover investigators arrested the pair after answering an ad on Craigslist for large kitchen appliances. The detectives went to a Moreno Valley home where they discovered expensive Viking and Thermador ovens, microwave ovens, dishwashers and even trash compactors. Just as important, a computer print-out of homes for sale in Riverside County was found. Total value of the brothers’ inventory was estimated at $100,000.

The Villaneuvas are currently spending their time in the Vista jail; Julio Villaneuva has also been charged with methamphetamine possession.

Read the original article in the Los Angeles Times.

November 24th, 2011 at 3:15pm

A woman out on bail when she committed new crimes has been sentenced to five years for operating a mortgage rescue scam, according to a press release by Attorney General Kamala D. Harris.

Angeline Lisa Lizarrago, 69, soon to be formerly from Fremont, was sentenced today to five years for a foreclosure scam in which numerous homeowners in the Bay Area and Central Valley were victimized by her illegal foreclosure prevention business, Avemos Financial Group. She had been charged with 23 counts of felony fraud and theft.

Michael Douglas Young, 68, the general manager of Avemos, has also been charged and will be tried in January 2012.

Lizarrago and Young had a unique marketing tactic that included placing shrines of the Virgin Mary in the lobby of their business. As with many foreclosure fraud schemes, theirs included requiring the payment of upfront fees, which is illegal in California.

The case against Lizarrago resulted from the combined efforts of the California Attorney GeneralAlameda County District Attorney Nancy E. O’Malley, the California Department of Real Estate (DRE) and the Fremont Police Department.

Read the press release for the California Attorney General.

Hard Prison Time for Man Convicted in Loan Modification Fraud

November 24th, 2011 at 3:03pm

A judge has thrown the book at a 42-year-old Stockton man with a history of felony and misdemeanor convictions.

San Joaquin County Superior Court Judge Xapuri Villapudua imposed an eight-year prison sentence on Jonathan William Barker,  who was convicted of running an illegal loan modification scam. Barker was convicted after three of his victims testified that he cold-called them with promises to modify their loans. He charged them up to $1,750 for this illegal service and was also operating without a real estate license.

Barker was prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney James Lewis, of the Major Fraud and Real Estate Unit.

Read the original article in RecordNet.com.

Eureka Woman Sues Son for Elder Financial Fraud

November 24th, 2011 at 2:53pm

Francis Bagley is a 70-year-old woman who at one time had equity in two homes and a comfortable retirement account.

Now Bagley is suing her son Eddie L. Shields, charging that he failed to keep his promise to repay her if she lent him money against the properties and her retirement account. Shields is being sued in Humboldt County Court by his mother for  “financial elder abuse, breach of contract, promise without intent to perform, money lent, and intentional infliction of emotional distress,” according to a report in Courthouse News Service. His mother said he has completely defaulted and not paid her back any of the money.

Tarzana Broker Arrested for Mortgage Fraud

November 24th, 2011 at 2:43pm

A Tarzana man with a history of administrative actions by the California Department of Real Estate (DRE) against him has been indicted by a federal grand jury for mail fraud and arrested.

According to U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wagner, Steve Zaven Kessedjian, 48, owned a company in Woodland Hills called Amerilend Inc., which purported to help homeowners refinance their properties. When a couple used Amerilend to refinance their home and take out equity to pay off their credit card debts, Kessedjian was supposed to disburse those funds to the credit card companies through his escrow company called Targa Escrow. Instead, Kessedjian is accused of keeping the $57,343 (escrow fraud).

The couple lost their home to foreclosure after the credit card companies pursued them for the debts and they were unable to pay them along with their new mortgage.

Read the original article in the Central Valley Business Times and also the website for U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of California.

Deli Owner Serves Up Mortgage Fraud to Home Purchasers

November 24th, 2011 at 2:23pm

A delicatessen owner in the East Bay who set up a website to offer mortgage loan services has pleaded no contest to two counts of grand theft for defrauding prospective buyers (mortgage fraud).

Rocky Prasad, who has no license to engage in mortgages, entered his plea in Santa Clara County Superior Court. His plea requires him to accept a term of six months in jail and three years of probation. He also reimbursed his two victims and has pulled down the website for his phony business Prestige Loans Corporation.

Read the original article in the Mercury News.

Newbury Park Man Arrested for Foreclosure Fraud

November 24th, 2011 at 2:14pm

The owner of a Newbury Park firm that promised to help property owners in foreclosure stay in their homes has been arrested and charged with 10 counts of mail fraud.

John Marcus Desenberg, 44, was arrested by the FBI after its investigation into the practices of his business Creative Lending Solutions, which focused on distressed homeowners in Merced and Placer Counties. Desenberg allegedly solicited these homeowners to sell their homes to “investors,” who would allow the homeowners to remain in their homes while the investors made the mortgage payments. After a year of purportedly rebuilding their credit, the homeowners would be allowed to purchase their homes.

In reality, Desenberg, according to the indictment, did not monitor either the payments by the investors or the credit of the homeowners and their homes fell into foreclosure (real estate fraud, foreclosure fraud).

Read the original article in the Central Valley Business Times.

Serial Monogamist Charged in Elder Financial Fraud

November 16th, 2011 at 7:17pm

A 39-year old woman who is already working on Husband #5 has been charged felony financial elder abuse, grand theft and forgery. She is accused of defrauding her former mother-in-law, a retired physician, by telling the woman she would invest her money in what turned out to be a non-existent commercial development in Rancho Bernardo.

Tara Moore, of Point Loma, has pleaded not guilty to the charges.  Prosecutors allege that Moore continued to take the elderly woman’s money for the development right up until the time she filed for bankruptcy.

San Diego Deputy District Attorney Bill Mitchell has informed the court that Moore is also being investigated by the Department of Veteran’s Affairs for continuing to take spousal support money from the federal government, even after she was married subsequently and should have informed DVA she was no longer eligible for the payments.

Read the original article in SignOn San Diego.

Modesto-Area “Gift Program” was Mortgage Fraud

November 16th, 2011 at 7:08pm

Michael Hurd, 37, a Salt Lake City man, has pleaded guilty in a unique form of mortgage fraud: a “seller-funded down payment assistance program” (his phrase) to assist borrowers to purchase their homes was nothing more than the borrowers unknowingly self-funding their own loans. The crimes to which he pleaded guilty were mail fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud, all related to the purchase of 20 properties in Modesto, which he flipped.

Hurd’s reach extended across the country; he has also pleaded guilty to flipping properties illegally in West Virginia by utilizing pumped-up appraisals (appraisal fraud). The lenders lost $5.5 million as a result.

Read the original article in the Central Valley Business Times.

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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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