California Real Estate Fraud Report

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Archive for January, 2017

Last Defendant in Central Valley Mortgage Fraud Case Pleads Guilty

January 27th, 2017 at 10:14am

Arthur Menefee, 56, a Stockton-based real estate agent, has pleaded guilty to wire fraud in a mortgage fraud scheme that involved at least 31 properties.

Menefee, who surrendered his real estate license to the California Bureau of Real Estate in 2013, was accused of recruiting friends and fellow church-goers to purchase properties. The lure was that Menefee took care of the mortgage payments or down-payments; the loan applications he prepared indicated the persons worked at a business that didn’t exist.

Five of Arthur Menefee‘s co-defendants have already pleaded guilty and have been sentenced as follows:

Jannice Riddick, 34, of Sacramento (two years and 11 months in prison);

Florence Francisco, 65, of Houston, Texas (one year in prison);

Adil Qayyum, 34, of Rosele, Illinois (three years of probation);

Elsie Pamela Fuller, 41, of Richmond (one year and nine months in prison); and,

Leona Yeargin, 49, of San Pablo (18 months in prison).

Two other defendants await sentencing after pleading guilty: Valeriy Vasilevitsky, and Ruth Willis

Read the original article in the Central Valley Business Times.

Lake Forest Woman Pleads Guilty to Ponzi Scheme in Real Estate Fraud Case

January 27th, 2017 at 10:02am

Fifty-five-year-old Angel Bronsgeest woman has pleaded guilty to federal charges of operating a real estate scam that resulted in Southern California investors losing $3.5 million, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California.

Bronsgeest pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud, said the U.S. Attorney’s Office, admitting that she and Shawn Patrick Watkins solicited their victims at Orange County hotel seminars to invest in their company, called The Equity Growth Group, or TEEG. Their pitch was that TEEG managed hundreds of property and the rents they collected were used to purchase new properties. Investors could earn interest on their money, which was secured by the deeds of trust on the properties. But the U.S. Attorney’s Office said that TEEG was not acquiring new properties, had a negative cash flow and the investors who did receive “interest” payments received that money from funds Bronsgeest and Watkins solicited by new victims (Ponzi scheme).

Read the original article in the OC Register.

Read the press release by clicking on this link for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California.

 

Owner of Global Home Investments Pleads Guilty in Foreclosure Scam Prosecution

January 20th, 2017 at 11:13am

Fontana resident Jose Armando Rodriguez, 57,  has pleaded guilty to grand theft, foreclosure consultant fraud and recording a false instrument.

Rodriguez, the owner and operator of Global Home Investments, told his five victims that he would save their homes from foreclosure, according to Senior Deputy District Attorney Tony Wold of the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office. Wold said that from 2010 to 2012 Rodriguez stole thousands of dollars from the victims, all located in the Oxnard area, but he never helped them.

When the victims later tried to short sell their homes, they found out that Rodriguez also filed false trust deeds and assignments of rent on their homes, all of which were lost to foreclosure.

Read the original article in the Ventura County Star.

 

CoreLogic Report Details New “Reverse Occupancy Scam”

January 20th, 2017 at 11:01am

A report from CoreLogic warns lenders that people committing mortgage fraud have reversed their traditional approach to one of a common scam: that of claiming they intend to take occupancy of a property in order to obtain a lower interest rate with lower fees and lower down-payment.

Under the new “reverse occupancy scheme”, the prospective home buyers tell lenders they’ll be renting out the home, though their actual intention is to occupy the property as their own home.

Willa Wei, an analyst at CoreLogic, said the buyers  are able to claim their “expected” rental income in order to satisfy the debt to income requirement of their mortgage application. The scheme is most common in cities where home prices and rents have appreciated. Leading the way is New York City, which has the highest reverse occupancy risk, followed by Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas and Houston.

CoreLogic has created a map of the cities that have the highest risk of reverse occupancy fraud. Click on this link to see the map.

Cerritos Realtor® Arrested in Escrow Fraud Scheme in Alleged Short Sale Fraud Scheme

January 6th, 2017 at 10:15am

A Cerritos real estate broker was arrested for taking part in a two-year escrow fee scam that stole over $500,000 from over 30 victims.

Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies arrested Mario Gonzalez, a licensed broker at MCR Escrow, located at 1800 Studebaker Road #700.

Gonzalez, 45, allegedly participated in a scam in which homes were fraudulently listed as short sales, investigators in the Sheriff’s fraud bureau said. Buyers were required to pay escrow fees to “secure” a property after they submitted their bids. None of the sales closed, yet the buyers’ fees were not returned to them.

Mario Gonzalez has also been reported to RipoffReport.com, presumably by some of his unhappy customers.

Investigators are looking for other victims and can contact Detective Keith Clark at 562-946-7217.

In the meantime, Gonzalez is being held in lieu of a $70,000 bail at the Norwalk Sheriff Station.

Read the original article in Los Cerritos News.

Yorba Linda Man Sentenced to 4 Years in Real Estate Fraud Scheme

January 6th, 2017 at 10:00am

Andres Oman Pacheco, 40, has been sentenced to four years in prison after pleading guilty to the following crimes in a real estate fraud case:

Two counts of grand theft, both felonies
Admitting a sentencing enhancement allegation for aggravated white collar crime exceeding $500,000

The victims put money on deposit to buy property and when the deals fell through Pacheco would not refund the money, McFetridge said.

Pacheco was the owner of Santa Ana-based Franklin Equity Corporation/Signature Escrow, according to Senior Deputy District Attorney George McFetridge. His victims had entrusted him with $540,000 to invest in properties. When the sales failed to close, Pacheco refused to return their money.

Read the original article in the OC Register.

 

© 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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