August 31st, 2012 at 10:55am
Linda Kennedy, 49, of Paso Robles woman, has been charged with four felonies in connection with an alleged real estate investment fraud that involved hard money loans in the amount of $1.3 million. She has pleaded not guilty.
Kennedy was arrested this past July. She was president of 21st Century Financial Resources Inc., which pooled investors’ monies into securites collateralized by real estate deeds. Her firm has been under investigation by state agencies since 2005, when an audit by the California Department of Real Estate found accounting discrepancies.
Linda Kennedy’s real estate broker’s license was revoked by the DRE in 2006.
Read the original article in the San Luis Obispo Tribune.
August 31st, 2012 at 10:32am
The San Bernardino County District Attorney’s office has booked and charged a Fontana couple with 20 felony counts in an identity theft and real estate fraud case.
Nick Lee, 42, and Chang-Li Wang, 45, are facing charges of forgery, procuring and offering a false or forged instrument, identity theft and grand theft. They are accused of stealing the identities of their victims in order to purchase homes in Fontana and Baldwin Park and obtain credit cards. involving properties in Fontana and Baldwin Park.
The investigator for this case is Jamie Samaniego.
Read the original article in the Press Enterprise (bottom of the article).
August 31st, 2012 at 10:24am
The San Bernardino District Attorney’s Office has announced that David Alan Boucher, 56, of Upland, has been arrested and charged with 63 felony counts, including filing false documents, forgery and identity theft. Prosecutors accuse Boucher of defrauding banks and other financial firms by recording fraudulent grant deeds (title fraud) on 20 properties located in San Bernardino County.
District Attorney Michael Ramos said that Boucher held himself out as the “authorized representative” of the banks that regained title to the foreclosed properties, which had a combined value of $4.5 million. After the grant deeds were forged, hard money loans were obtained on some of the homes, defrauding those lenders (loan fraud).
Read the original article in the Press Enterprise.
August 31st, 2012 at 10:14am
An attorney failed to convince a federal judge that his client should serve less time in prison because he suffered from “brain damage, bipolar disorder and “mild” schizophrenia” and committed his crimes on the advice of “aliens and spirits.”
David Papera had pleaded guilty to defrauding Washington Mutual, aka WaMu, (mortgage fraud, loan fraud) by submitting millions of dollars in loan applications from straw buyers, who were to purchase parcels near Lake Hennessey in Napa from the Sage Creek Ranch, LLC development company that Papera owned with his Michael Ohayon.
Last April, Papera pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud and money laundering and despite his attorney Steven Gruel’s pleas, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Charles R. Breyer to 70 months in prison. Michael Ohayon, who in May pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud, bank fraud and money laundering, was sentenced to 60 months. Both men were ordered by Judge Breyer to pay $10.5 million in restitution to Chase Home Finance, Washington Mutual’s successor.
The investigation was conducted jointly by the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division and the FBI.
Read the original article in the Napa Valley Register.
August 31st, 2012 at 9:50am
An ex-politician from Arizona who went to prison 20 years ago for bribery and money laundering admitted Wednesday that he used his son’s identity 14 years ago to start a new life as a real estate broker.
Donald James Kenney, 74, once the powerful chairman of the House Judiciary Committee in Arizona, pleaded guilty in San Diego Superior Court to one charge of identity theft for stealing the identity of his son and two of filing false and forged records with a California public agency.
After his release in the late 1990s, Donald James Kenney moved to San Diego, at which time he used the name of his son Donald John Kenney, 44, in order to acquire first a state ID card and then a real estate broker’s license. He both taught and practiced real estate, affiliating himself with Coldwell Banker’s Encinitas office.
When the California Department of Real Estate began an investigation of him, Kenney surrendered the real estate license he had been issued under the name of Donald John Kenney. The DRE referred his case to authorities, who prosecuted, resulting in the guilty please. He was placed on unsupervised probation by Superior Court Judge Laura Halgren but could go to prison for four years and four months if he violates his probation.
Read the original article in U-T San Diego.
August 30th, 2012 at 6:49pm
Henrik Sardariani, 44, a Glendale resident accused of scamming banks and individuals out of millions in a loan fraud scheme, was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison. His co-conspirator and brother Hamlet Sardariani, 42, of Sylmar, will be sentenced next month for the same crimes.
Both brothers pleaded guilty to felony counts of wire fraud, conspiracy and money laundering in the court of U.S. District Judge Virginia Phillips, who ordered Henrik Sardariani to pay $5.4 million in restitution to his victims, along with a $100,000 fine.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Ranee Katzenstein termed the con “sophisticated and complex” and involved Henrik Sardariani creating phony government documents and fraudulent real estate documents that he authenticated by cutting and pasting notarizations (notary fraud). Sardariani secured his loans – which he admitted he had no intention of repaying – using his homes on Paseo Redondo in Burbank and on Maginn Drive in Glendale as collateral.
Wanda Tenney, an escrow officer, helped Sardariani avoid paying one of his loans back by helping him wire almost $2 million to a Hong Kong account (escrow fraud). Tenney pleaded guilty to conspiring to launder money and will be sentenced in October.
You can find an earlier article about the prosecution of Henrik Sardariani and Hamlet Sardariani by using the search window on the left-side or clicking on this link of the California Real Estate Fraud Report.
Read the original article for this post on the Glendale News Press.
August 30th, 2012 at 6:29pm
The Archdiocese of Los Angeles has suspended a priest from affiliated with St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Palmdale after a widow accused him of conning her out of almost $300,000.
According to Tod Tamberg, an archdiocese spokesman, Father Peter Valdez has been placed on administrative leave after Michalena Jones, 79, filed a lawsuit against the archdiocese, complaining that Father Valdez befriended Jones after her husband died in 2003. He convinced her to not only give him $150,000 to purchase a $620,000 home in Downey in 2006 but also to add him to her checking account, from which he made the mortgage payments. He sold the home in 2010 for $330,000, presumably in a short sale.
The lawsuit, which accuses both Father Valdez and the archdiocese of elder abuse and fraud, was filed only after Mrs. Jones’ son placed her in a convalescent home and reviewed her finances. It was filed, according to William McMillan, attorney for the Jones family, after family members informed the archdiocese of the alleged theft but received no action as a result.
Read the original article in the Los Angeles Times.
August 24th, 2012 at 1:35pm
According to a press release by the Office of the California Attorney General, two Sacramento men have been arraigned for allegedly operating a $3.2 million real estate investment fraud that purported to buy and flip foreclosed homes.
California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris announced that Taze Claiborne Ellis (“TC” Ellis), 45, and his son, Taze Jordan Ellis (“TJ” Ellis), 23 were arraigned August 16; both have been charged with dozens of felony counts of grand theft and securities fraud. If the Attorney General’s charges are found to be true, the Ellis’ operated an outlandish fraud in which they solicited monies from the investors, promised them returns of 60% over five years, but brazenly used most of the funds for their personal expenses and fancies. In short, this could turn out to be nothing more than a Ponzi scheme. The businesses through which they received the investment funds were called Blacksand, Inc. and FXKB, Inc. and neither were registered to sell securities in California.
Further, Taze Claiborne Ellis neglected to disclose to his investors that he had been sentenced to four years in prison in 2002 for grand theft and tax fraud.
This case was investigated by the Attorney General’s eCrime Unit and will be prosecuted by the Attorney General’s Special Crimes Unit.
August 24th, 2012 at 9:29am
A Bay Area real estate investor is going to federal prison for five years after pleading guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud.
James Stanley Ward, 65, originally faced 18 counts of conspiracy, mail fraud and wire fraud with regard to his Mountain View-based company Jim Ward & Associates, Inc., and its successor business, JSW Financial, Inc. Prosecutors charged that Ward had ripped off investors, forcing many into financial ruin, by taking their money with full knowledge that his business was suffering losses, and providing them with phony financial statements that indicated the business was healthy (real estate investment fraud).
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission brought separate civil charges against Ward and his three co-defendants: Richard F. Tipton, 62, of Palo Alto, Edward George Locker, 36, of Highland Heights, Ohio, and David Lin of Los Altos, were accused of shoring up their money-losing real estate development projects and hiding $17 million losses by continuing to solicit money from the victims.
Investors had been solicited with promises their funds would go to making loans that were secured by residential real estate. Instead, the four men funneled much of the investment monies to business they controlled, using some of it to buy themselves homes.
James Stanley Ward was once a real estate broker licensed with the California Department of Real Estate, but his officer license was revoked in December 2005.
Read the original article in Palo Alto Online, including the heart-breaking stories by the victims recounting their losses.
August 24th, 2012 at 9:01am
A real estate agent who worked for Century 21 Su Casa in San Jose is sitting in jail on a $1 million bail after a jury found her guilty of stealing the identity of one man to purchase a home for another.
Julissa Gill, 34, had been charged with eight felony counts of grand theft, forgery and identity theft and was prosecuted in Santa Clara County Superior Court in front of Judge Jacqueline Arroyo. The jury that convicted Gill found that in 2007 she had used the name, birth date and social security number of Jose Valdez, a San Leandro man, in order to complete the purchase of a home in San Jose for Eddy Niquen. Niquen, who ultimately lost the property to foreclosure, was apparently unaware of Gill’s manipulation of Valdez’ identity.
David Lim, a deputy district attorney with the Real Estate Fraud Unit from the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office, was the prosecutor.
Julissa Gill’s license as a real estate salesperson shows no disciplinary action from the California Department of Real Estate as of the date of this post. However, the license of Century 21 Su Casa’s designated broker, Bic Pho, was revoked in 2011. See the earlier post about Bic Pho in the California Real Estate Fraud Report.
Read the original article in the Silicon Valley Mercury News.