California Real Estate Fraud Report

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Vallejo Man Gets 10 Years in Prison for Stealing $10 Million

May 11th, 2017 at 3:13pm

Karim Akil, 50, was sentenced in federal court to 10 years in prison for conspiracy to commit mortgage fraud and money laundering.

Akil was first indicted in 2009, entered a guilty plea as part of a plea deal in 2012 but according to prosecutors defrauded more people in 2012 and 2013 while waiting to be sentenced.

In a press release, Michael T. Batdorf, an IRS special agent in charge in the IRS Criminal Investigation Division, said “Mr. Akil enjoyed a lavish lifestyle, with outrageous expenditures. Akil left a path of destruction, from properties that went into default and foreclosure, to straw buyers whose credit was ruined, to an escrow company that went out of business.”

Read the original article in the Fairfield Daily Republic.

 

REFAT Has Emerged As a Hope for the Victims of Real Estate Crime in Ventura County

May 5th, 2017 at 9:31am

Ventura County, CA, USA – May 4, 2017 – Real Estate Fraud Advisory Team [REFAT] has made an appeal to the residents of Ventura County, California to be aware of the real estate related scams and frauds. REFAT takes a request to the general public and has asked them to report anyone who does fraud related to the matters of property, particularly the fraudulent realtors of the county. REFAT’s program outreaches to escrow companies, lenders, real estate agents, title companies & other such pros from the industry.

“We are waging a war against fraudulent realtors and we want a scam-free, transparent and reasonable property in the Ventura County,” said Jim Keith, the Chair and Founder of REFAT. “We aim to prevent, detect and report the real estate frauds happening in our county to ensure a scam-free realty,” he added. Several individuals and groups have already been arrested due to the actions taken against them by Ventura County district attorney fraud unit. REFAT wants the county as well as the state to be free from scams and rip-offs. The worst bit is that the victims are mostly senior citizens and people with modest English-speaking abilities.

Criminals, felons and scammers such as Patrick Iturra, Rod Scott Hormell, Michael McDevitt, Joe Garcia and several others were arrested and sentenced up to 10 years due to the efforts of Ventura County district attorney fraud unit and REFAT. These fraudsters have ripped off the residents for millions of dollars. In a nutshell, REFAT has come up with a promise to prevent, detect and report real estate fraud in the County as they also provides tools & resources that help to effectively spot the warning signals of real estate scam so that the fraud can be avoided beforehand.

To report a crime, a real estate fraud or a fraudulent realtor, please visit www.refat.org

Media Contact
Company Name: Real Estate Fraud Advisory Team [REFAT]
Contact Person: Jim Keith
Email: Justin@vent2wire.com
Phone: (805) 432 5843
Country: United States
Website: www.REFAT.org

 

San Mateo County Gets Aggressive in Chasing Real Estate Fraud, Mortgage Fraud

May 5th, 2017 at 9:24am

According to the San Mateo Daily Journal, the San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office is going to be aggressively investigating people attempting to take out fraudulent liens on a property (title fraud), trying to con the elderly out of their homes (elder financial abuse, elder financial fraud) or anyone falsifying real estate documents.

With a new $3 document recording fee and property values rising, the County Board of Supervisors set up a Real Estate Fraud Prosecution Trust Fund that will be used to investigate criminals.

District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe and his office have received almost 300 complaints of real estate fraud since 2014.

Upland Woman Convicted in Real Estate Fraud Case

May 5th, 2017 at 8:53am

Upland resident Barbara Rae Bratton, 58 was convicted of 6 counts of real estate fraud on April 14.

Bratton, who lost her home to foreclosure, was investigated by the Ontario Police Department on suspicion of filing two false grant deeds with the San Bernardino County Recorder’s Office on a house in the 900 block of Locust Street in Ontario.

After the foreclosure, the home was legally purchased to new buyers, according to District Attorney Sr. Investigation John Vega.
Read the original article in the Highland Community News.

Three From Long Island Arrested In $1 Million Mortgage Fraud Scheme

May 5th, 2017 at 8:45am

Nine people were indicted, and three arrested for an alleged mortgage fraud scheme that included some short sale fraud purchases. The scheme spanned two boroughs of New York City and resulted in more than $1 million in fraudulent gains.

The persons arrested were Janelle Defreitas, 37, of Uniondale; Lester Wayne Mackey, 63, of Wyandanch; and Darren Downes, 36, of Baldwin. Also named in the indictment were Raymond McKayle, 53, of East Flatbush; Jaipaul Persaud, 54, of Fresh Meadows; Roxanne Harmon, 51, of Jamaica; June Whyte, 54, of Ozone Park; Rickley Gregoire, 33, of Brooklyn; and Paula Blackwood-Sambury, 50, of Cambria Heights.

“Our investigation uncovered a brazen and elaborate scheme to defraud mortgage lenders and steal over $1 million,” said Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. “We have zero tolerance for anyone who tries to cheat the system — and we won’t hesitate to bring them to justice.”

Ironically, Roxanne Harmon is an investigator for the New York City Department of Investigation. One of the properties involved was apparently her own.

Read the original article, which includes the charges and details of the alleged mortgage fraud scheme, in The Patch.

 

Monterey County District Attorney’s Office Seeking Victims in Real Estate Fraud Case

April 21st, 2017 at 8:40am

The Monterey County District Attorney’s Office has indicted two men it is accusing of charging people upfront fees for non-existent loans in Salinas.

The allegations are that Jose Tomas-Silva and Mark Gallegos marketed real estate brokerage services that required the prospective clients to pay advance fees for residential properties that were not for sale

Read the original article in The Californian.

Brea Man Sentenced by Federal Judge to Long Prison Time for Multi-Million Dollar Mortgage Modification Scam

April 14th, 2017 at 9:41am

Despite the pleas of high-powered defense attorney Manny Medrano for an 18-month sentence, Bryan D’Antonio was sentenced to over eight years in prison for a operating a mortgage modification scam.

In imposing the sentence, U.S. District Judge David O. Carter ordered D’Antonio to not only serve 97 months in prison, but also 12 months in a halfway house, three years of supervised probation and to restitution of $3.8 million. Judge Carter noted that D’Antonio was still on supervised release after a four-year conviction for a previous medical-billing scheme.

Bryan D’Antonio was the owner and operator of Rodis Law Group and agreed last year to plead guilty to defrauding more than 1,500 people out of $9 million.

Although D’Antonio apologized to the court, Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph McNally characterized Rodis Law Group as a boiler room, telemarketer operation that lured desperate homeowners by advertising a non-existent team of attorney who would help the homeowners renegotiate their interest rates and principal balances.

Co-defendants Charles Wayne Farris of Aliso Viejo and Ronald Rodis of Irvine have, like D’Antonio, pleaded guilty to felony conspiracy to commit mail and wire-fraud charges and have yet to be sentenced.

Read the original article in the Orange County Register.

Husband And Wife Convicted in Fraudulent Short Sale of Property Later Sold to Sacred Heart Academy

April 6th, 2017 at 1:58pm

On March 30, Joseph Atias and Sofia Atias were convicted of bank fraud, conspiracy to commit bank fraud and Medicaid fraud by a jury in federal court in Central Islip, New York.

According to a press release by the U.S. Attorney for Eastern District of New York,

The fraud was designed to, and did, defraud Bank of America of over half a million dollars.  The defendants face penalties of up to 35 years’ imprisonment, the forfeiture of $560,000, and restitution of over $700,000.  After the verdicts, Joseph Atias was remanded to custody pending sentencing by United States District Judge Denis R. Hurley.

The convictions were announced by Bridget M. Rohde, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and William F. Sweeney, Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office.

“Through a web of lies and false documentation, these defendants stole more than half a million dollars from Bank of America and from Medicaid, which they used to line their own pockets,” stated Acting United States Attorney Rohde.  “The fine work of the FBI to bring these defendants to account for these crimes sends a clear message to anyone who contemplates engaging in mortgage fraud or Medicaid fraud: Do not even attempt it, because you will be caught and held responsible.”  Ms. Rohde extended her grateful appreciation to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the agency responsible for leading the government’s investigation.

The defendants were convicted of bank fraud and conspiracy to commit bank fraud in connection with the sale of property adjacent to Sacred Heart Academy for $925,000, after the defendants had sold the property in a short sale for $480,000 to discharge their mortgage debt.  In the short sale process, the defendants and a co-conspirator, an attorney who pleaded guilty and testified against the defendants at trial, concealed the offer from Sacred Heart Academy from the Bank of America.  In the short sale process, the defendants submitted a fraudulent contract of sale and other documents with false statements to Bank of America, and obtained approval of a short sale, wherein the proceeds from the sale of the property were less than the total amount of the mortgages on the property.  The defendants submitted these documents to Bank of America, falsely representing that there were no funds to pay the mortgages when, in fact, the defendants knew that Sacred Heart Academy, a high school in Hempstead, New York, had offered to buy the property for an amount sufficient to cover the mortgages on the property.  To accomplish the fraudulent short sale scheme, the defendants used a relative as a straw buyer of the property to create the appearance of an arms-length sale.  Shortly after that sale, the defendant’s straw buyer sold the property to Sacred Heart Academy for approximately half a million dollars in profit.

Nipomo Woman Sentenced to Prison for Defrauding Senior Citizen in Reverse Mortgage Scam

April 6th, 2017 at 1:46pm

San Luis Obispo District Attorney Dan Dow announced that a Nipomo woman who scammed an elderly man out of $117,000 by conning him into taking out a reverse mortgage on his property, has been sentenced to one year in jail.

Araceli Cortes, 38, pleaded no contest to one count of felony grand theft with an enhancement for stealing more than $100,000. Her victim was a 74-year-old man who had financially backed her business.

In addition to serving her sentence, Cortes received four years of probation and must pay restitution.

Read the original article in CalCoastNews.com

CFPB’s Richard Cordray Discusses Dodd-Frank

March 31st, 2017 at 7:24am

The CFPB (Consumer Financial Protection Bureau) exists to protect us. This is why banks and loan servicing companies are trying to kill it.

Read the full article and interview with Richard Cordray in DSNews.

© Copyright 2007-2017 Monique Bryher

Legal Disclaimer.

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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