California Real Estate Fraud Report

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Newport Coast Man Charged in Financial Elder Abuse of 95-Year-Old Woman

February 17th, 2017 at 11:30am

Thomas Chapman Hood, a 68-year-old Newport Coast man, has been charged with financial elder abuse of a 95-year-old woman with dementia by the Orange County District Attorney’s Office. Specifically, the charges are 19 felony counts of forgery, one felony count of first degree residential burglary to commit larceny and financial elder abuse, and one felony count of theft from an elder, with sentencing enhancement allegations for non-accomplices being present during residential burglary, aggravated white collar crime over $500,000, and property loss of over $200,000

Chief of Staff Susan Kang Schroeder said Hood, who was employed part-time as an assistant to the trustee, allegedly forged the trustee’s signature on checks totaling $534,850 dollars between March 2015 and September 2016. It was the trustee who discovered the fraud when he tried to make a payment from the woman’s bank account to to her assisted living home which was denied due to insufficient funds.

Thomas Chapman Hood is a licensed real estate broker. Check his license status with the California Bureau of Real Estate.

Hood allegedly used the stolen money to pay for his personal expenses, including credit card bills and a 2-week vacation in Paris, France, according to the press release by the Orange County District Attorney.

Read the original article in The Patch and Behind the Badge OCSD.

 

San Diego Woman Pleads Guilty to Defrauding Two Lenders after Witch Creek Fire

February 3rd, 2017 at 10:48am

The out-building adjacent to the home Deborah and Douglas Tumlinson owned in Ramona was destroyed in the Witch Creek fire that occurred in San Diego County’s back-country in October 2007.

Unlike the other victims who filed claims against San Diego Gas & Electric, which acknowledged that the fire stemmed from sparks from some of its equipment during high winds, the Tumlinsons took a different approach.

Deborah Tumlinson convinced the Tumlinson’s family friend and trust attorney, Carter Johnston, to write a letter to New Jersey-based lender, U.S. Claims, advising the lender that they would be receiving a $2.49 million settlement from the wildfire and would be paid within 30 days. Johnston, who was disbarred for his false representations to U.S. Claims, also stated falsely that he had represented the Tumlinsons in the settlement. As a result, U.S. Claims and its president Darryl Levine made a loan to them for over $700,000 to buy a new house.

The Tumlinsons failed to repay the loan and failed to repay a second loan they received from Seaside Funding, a Carlsbad mortgage broker, for the new home they falsely claimed would be a rental property.

Deborah Tumlinson pleaded guilty in May 2016 to aiding and abetting in a wire fraud scheme and was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Janis Sammartino  to a year and a day in prison. The judge noted how her actions had caused great suffering to others, namely Darryl Levine, who was forced to sell his business in 2014.

Douglas Tumlinson, who actually signed many of the documents, entered into a deferred prosecution agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, which dismissed the charges against him after his wife was sentenced.

Judge Sammartino ordered the couple to pay $1.8 million in restitution to U.S. Claims, although there is already a civil judgment against them, according to U.S. Claims attorney Pat Swan. Seaside Funding was made whole at the foreclosure auction.

Read the full article in the San Diego Tribune.

Read the press release of this case from the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of California. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher P. Tenorio.

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.

 

Santa Maria Men Charged in Real Estate Fraud of Short Sale Properties

December 16th, 2016 at 12:09pm

Two men have been charged by the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office  with allegedly committing real estate fraud that cost Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac at least $500,000.

Angelo Gabriel Naemi, 36, was charged with five counts of grand theft by false pretenses, and one count of conspiracy to commit grand theft. Steven Paul Gonzales, 61, was charged with one count of conspiracy to commit grand theft.
“The complaint alleges that Naemi, a real estate salesperson, and Gonzales, a real estate broker, conspired to falsify documents in association with numerous short sale transactions,” the District Attorney’s Office said.  The complaint against both men also includes special allegations for aggravated white collar crime and excessive losses.

Gonzales became sole owner of CornerStone Real Estate in Santa Maria in 2012 while Naemi is listed as a sales associate with the firm which has an office at 411 E. Betteravia Road, Suite 101.

Read the original article on Noozhawk.

Vacaville Man Seeks New Trial after Being Convicted in Real Estate Fraud Case

December 8th, 2016 at 5:50pm

Richard D. Lamphere, 53, who was found guilty by a jury in September on four of five charges in relation to a real estate fraud case, has indicated through his new attorneys his intent to seek a new trial.

The case against Lamphere dates back more than 10 years and concerns two men who were defrauded out of more than a combined $1.3 million in an Oroville real estate scheme. Both men gave Lamphere their money in the hopes that they would profit from Lamphere’s real estate investment project. Prosecutors, however, presented evidence that he used the victims’ investment money for his personal use.

One of the men, sued  Richard Lamphere in civil court and was awarded $1.9 million. This proceeded the filing of criminal charges by the Solano County District Attorney’s Office.

Read the original article in TheReporter.com.

 

© 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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