California Real Estate Fraud Report

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Defendants in America’s Law Group, Rodis Law Group, Sentenced in Mortgage Modification Fraud Case

July 14th, 2017 at 8:48am

Charles Wayne Farris, 65, of Aliso Viejo and Ronald Rodis, 52, of Long Beach have been sentenced to prison for their roles in a mortgage modification fraud that defraud 1,500 distressed property owners out of over $9 million.

Farris was ordered to serve 47 months in prison, while Rodis, who had previously surrendered his license to practice law, was sentenced to 41 months. The California Real Estate Fraud Report reported back in August 2016 that both men had pleaded guilty to felony counts of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and were ordered to make restitution payments to their victims in the millions of dollars.

Bryan D’Antonio, who was the owner and operator of the Rodis Law Group, aka America’s Law Group, was sentenced to 97 months in prison in a plea deal.

According to the U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California, the victims were located by the defendants placing radio ads claiming the Rodis Law Group employed experienced attorneys who could help struggling homeowners get lower interest rates from their lenders or even get their mortgages reduced.

Read the original article in the Orange County Register.

 

 

Clovis Man Charged with Operating a Ponzi Scheme

July 13th, 2017 at 7:41am

Clovis resident Seth Adam Depiano, 36, has been arrested Thursday and has been charged with mail fraud, wire fraud and money laundering.

In court document, Deplane is accused of operating a $20 million Ponzi scheme by luring unsuspecting real estate investors into his businesses, including The Rental Group, U.S. Funding and Home Services LLC and Draymond Homes.

He promised the investors that their funds would be used to purchase homes that would either be renovated and resold or turned into rental properties.

In addition, Depiano is accused selling the North Roosevelt apartment building in Fresno that he didn’t owned to his investors. Another complex in Fresno, the “Winery Complex,” was sold as an apartment building but is actually condominium units that are individually owned.

The FBI investigation began in September 2015 after a notary filed a report with the Los Gatos Police Department, claiming her signature had been forged (notary fraud) on a grant deed document for the North Roosevelt complex.

Seth Depiano’s case is being heard before the U.S. District Court in Las Vegas, the city in which he was arrested.

Read the original article in the Fresno Business Journal.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Must Be Saved

July 11th, 2017 at 8:37am

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), created as part of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, is one of the few federal agencies that exists to protect We ThePeople against predatory, misleading and fraudulent practices financial institutions have used to steal from us.

One of the CFPB‘s most recent accomplishments was to fine Wells Fargo $185 million and force it to return fees it had unlawfully charged its customers. This was in conjunction with a lawsuit filed against Wells Fargo by the Los Angeles City Attorney.

The current Administration and Republicans in Congress are openly trying to shut down the CFPB and go back to the “good old days” of no regulation of the financial sector.

Read this interesting article called “Why We Need to Save the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.”

Los Osos Real Estate Broker is Target of Allegations of Fraud re: Septic Credits

July 7th, 2017 at 11:22am

Septic credits” occur when an old building is demolished in Los Osos and the owner can use the historical credit to re-build. The septic credits can be bought, sold and transferred from one parcel to another.

In Los Osos, when building isn’t impossible, it’s at least complicated.

Due to septic contamination of groundwater since 1988, developers, real estate brokers and their agents have used creativity to make projects happen. But because of the complexities, things can get complicated, leading to contract disputes and lawsuits when projects fair to complete.

The recent partnership between Los Osos real estate broker Jeff Edwards, of J.H. Edwards Company, and Fresno-based developer the Los Osos Investment Group, appears to have ended poorly. There are lawsuits betweens the former partners and accusations of “fraudulent conduct, negligence, and misrepresentation” made against Edwards by the California Bureau of Real Estate (BRE).

This is a very complex story, but one well-worth reading.

Read the original article in Full Times SLO.

Sacramento Loan Processor Sentenced for Participation in Widespread Mortgage Fraud

July 7th, 2017 at 11:08am

Loan processor Sergey Shchirskiy, 41, has been sentenced to seven years and 10 months in prison for his role in a mortgage fraud conspiracy that caused losses of $2.7 million to lenders.

Shchirskiy was the target of a joint investigation by the FBI and IRS for white-collar crimes that began as early as 2007. According to U.S. Deputy District Attorney Phillip A. Talbert, Shchirskiy’s role was to recruit straw buyers and to prepare fraudulent loan applications for the straw buyers. He and his 15 co-conspirators took out equity lines of credit and all the properties were foreclosed.

U.S. District Judge Troy Nunley imposed sentence.

Read the press release from the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of California.

 

Prospect Mortgage to Pay $4.157 million in Penalties to Resolve Fraud Allegations

July 7th, 2017 at 10:55am

Prospect Mortgage Company is set to pay a penalty of $4.157 million to resolve claims by several attorneys general that it committed mortgage fraud while participating in the government’s Direct Lender Endorsement Program.

According to federal prosecutors, Prospect Mortgage defrauded the government during and after the run-up to the housing crisis through its participation in the Direct Endorsement program, which the feds claim cost taxpayers millions.

The program is administered by the Federal Housing Administration and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. As a DE lender, Prospect was able to originate, underwrite and endorse mortgages for FHA insurance. But the U.S. Justice Department alleged that Prospect falsely certified that the FHA-insured loans it had originated complied with critical quality-control requirements, when they did not.

Prospect Mortgage sold its operating assets to HomeBridge Financial in February 2017.

Read the original article in Mortgage Professional America.

Zillow Tries to Silence Real Estate Blogger of “McMansion Hell”

June 30th, 2017 at 11:26am

Internet gorilla Zillow has taken aim at McMansion Hell, using what Boing Boing called a “grossly bogus legal threat” to shut down the popular blog.

Zillow made what many copyright attorneys think was a stretch by claiming that McMansion Hell was ‘violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) and state laws that prohibit “interference with Zillow’s business expectations and interests.” Apparently Zillow believes it has “particular rights” to images it doesn’t own.

Read the original article in Boing Boing. In the meantime, McMansion Hell seems to have been saved for now by the Electronic Freedom Frontier.

Woman Pleads No Contest in Craigslist Rent Fraud

June 23rd, 2017 at 8:29am

A woman pleaded no contest to a felony grand theft charge for taking deposits for rental property she did not own.

The Salinas Police Department had received multiple complaints from people saying that Veronica Lopez was posing as the owner of a Salinas property which was advertised in Craigslist. Lopez took a $1,000 deposit from one prospective renter, who later became suspicious and verified that she was not the owner.

Veronica Lopez was prosecuted by the Monterey County District Attorney’s Office.  Deputy District Attorney John Hubanks from the District Attorney’s Real Estate Fraud Unit and District Attorney Investigator Alicia Cox handled the case.

Read the original article in The Salinas Californian.

 

Sacramento Man Sentenced in Mortgage Fraud Csae

June 16th, 2017 at 8:43am

Sergey Shchirskiy, 41, a loan processor in Sacramento, has been sentenced to seven years and 10 months in prison for his role in two mortgage fraud schemes and one tax fraud scheme, according to the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of California.

Between April and November 2007, Shchirskiy and his co-conspirators purchased properties with straw buyers and took out home equity lines of credit using fraudulent documents and statements that Shchirskiy created. He also recruited the straw buyers and the loan applications he submitted contained untrue information about the buyers’ income, assets and intent to occupy the houses.

Read the original article in the Central Valley Business Times.

Former Employees Sue American Financial Corp., Claim Retaliatory Firing for Exposing Fraud

June 16th, 2017 at 8:08am

Four former employees of American Financial Corp. have filed a whistleblower lawsuit, accusing the company of firing them after they attempted to expose AFC’s alleged mortgage fraud.

The plaintiffs are Chris Springer, Steffen Mehnert and Sandra Reynolds, who were mortgage consultants, and Stacia Springer, a pre-qualification specialist. They say they were fired after they reported their concerns to management in March 2017.

The lawsuit alleges that the company intentionally falsified loan information, faked signatures, withheld negative financial information about an applicant and faked compliance with key deadlines.

American Financing issued a statement to The Denver Post, saying it will defend itself “vigorously against this meritless lawsuit and the false allegations …”

JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo, US Bank, Flagstar Bank and PennyMac, were the banks allegedly defraud according to the lawsuit, as well as the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority.

Read the original article in The Denver Post.

 

© 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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