California Real Estate Fraud Report

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Punishment for Nevada real estate broker in short sale fraud seen as light

May 15th, 2015 at 5:13am

The Reno Gazette-Journal has published a lengthy essay that highlights the weak punishment meted out to real estate licensees who facilitate short sale fraud.

In this case, real estate broker Kyle Krch of Krch Realty and his agent Michael Harding were fined by the Nevada Real Estate Commission. For 39 violations, Krch was fined $102,000 plus over $10,000 in fees for failing to “represent his distressed sellers and provide them a written disclosure about his financial interest with the investment group buying their properties.” Michael Harding has to pay $23,000 plus $3,167 in costs.

The article suggests that the punishment was not enough because neither licensee will have his license suspended.

So far, there is no indication that Washoe County District Attorney’s office or the Nevada Attorney General have any interest in prosecuting.



Six straw buyers convicted in mortgage fraud scheme

May 8th, 2015 at 9:44am

Six people who served as straw buyers in the Sacramento area have been convicted of wire fraud.

Three defendants: Irina Markevich, 30, of Rio Linda; Anatoliy Markevich, 35, of Sacramento; and Marina Pukhkan, 53, of Rio Linda were each convicted of two counts of wire fraud, according to a press release by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of California. The three remaining defendants: Daniil Markevich, 38, and his wife, Svetlana Markevich, 38, both of Escondido, and Alex Markevich, 40, of Rio Linda were each convicted of one count of wire fraud.

All six defendants acted as straw buyers, obtaining home loans by submitting fraudulent loan applications and related financial documents. After obtaining the loans, they made the mortgage payments for a few months, then allowed the properties to go into foreclosure, causing losses to the lending institutions of more than $700,000.

Read the original article in the Sacramento Bee.

Elderly real estate agent arrested on suspicion of elder financial abuse

May 8th, 2015 at 9:32am

A 74-year-old real estate agent has been arrested for allegedly committing  elder financial abuse and grand theft, with police saying he had taken at least $500,000 from about 20 victims.

Fremont resident Jeremiah Bishop is a licensed real estate agent. Since 2005 he promoted himself to his victims as a commercial real estate investor with a partner. Police say there was no partner and the properties Bishop claimed were for sale were in fact not available.

Read the original article in the Mercury News.>

Elder financial abuse thwarted by alert bank teller

May 8th, 2015 at 9:02am

A teller at the Bank of Sierra is a hero after preventing 25-year-old James Beckelman-Ibarra from stealing $80,000 from an elderly Tulare County woman.

Beckelman-Ibarra had promised the 82-year-old woman in the summer of 2014 that she would receive $8,000 for the remainder of her life if she invested the $80,000 with him upfront. When he drove the woman to her bank, the teller, who had known the woman for several years, asked Beckelman-Ibarra to produce photo ID and a business card, neither of which he had in his possession. When Beckelman-Ibarra attempt to leave, the teller contacted the Tulare County Sheriff’s Department, whose deputies arrested him.

James Beckelman-Ibarra was found guilty of attempting to deceive the woman and received a 280 day jail sentence, four-year suspended prison sentence and five years of felony probation.

Read the original article in the Fresno Bee.



Northern California real estate investor agrees to plead guilty to bid rigging at public foreclosure auctions

May 7th, 2015 at 9:50am

A Northern California real estate investor has agreed to plead guilty for his role in conspiracies to rig bids at public real estate foreclosure auctions in Northern California, the Department of Justice announced.

Felony charges were filed today in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in Oakland against Wayne Lippman of Walnut Creek, California.  To date, as a result of the department’s ongoing antitrust investigations into bid rigging and fraud at public real estate foreclosure auctions in Northern California, 55 individuals have agreed to plead or have pleaded guilty.

Read the press release on the US DOJ website.

Whistleblower charges Zillow executive stole data from Move

May 5th, 2015 at 1:05pm

The lawsuit by Move and the National Association of Realtors against Errol Samuelson, Move’s former chief strategy officer, has heated up with the appearance a letter from an anonymous whistleblower. The whistleblower alleges that Samuelson stole “multiple documents and entire databases” when he worked at Move, and that Zillow, where Samuelson is now the chief development officer,  is using the stolen information, and is hiding evidence on non-Zillow electronic services.

Read the original article on HousingWire.

Appellate Court Dismisses Morgan Drexen’s Constitutional Challenge to CFPB’s Authority

May 5th, 2015 at 8:15am

In an important victory for consumers across the nation, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has dismissed a constitutional challenge to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) filed by Costa Mesa-based Morgan Drexen Integrated Systems. The CFPB had filed a lawsuit against Morgan Drexen in federal court in 2013.

In a 2-1 vote, the judges rejected the claims of Morgan Drexen and its contracted Connecticut-based attorney Kimberly Pisinski,  that the CFPB violates the U.S. Constitution’s separation of powers because it is not subject to Congressional oversight. The panel rules that Morgan Drexen did not have legal grounds to bring litigation.

Morgan Drexen, whose website states it “develops and delivers efficient legal support services to America’s Law Firms,” was the target of an enforcement action in 2013 by the CFPB after the CFPB accused it of charge advance fees for debt relief (illegal) and demand it turn over thousands of documents related to Pisinski’s bankruptcy clients. In its fight against the action, Morgan Drexen and Pisinsky said the documents were protected by attorney-client privilege and that the CFPB was essentially on hunting mission to “data mine” the “confidential financial information of distressed consumers.”

Click here for a copy of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruling.

According to an article in the OC Register, Morgan Drexen has ironically now filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection.

Read the original article in DSNews.


CFPB and Maryland Attorney General suing banks and others for RESPA anti-kickback violations

May 1st, 2015 at 11:32am

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and the Maryland Attorney General have filed complaints accusing six individuals of taking illegal mortgage kickback scheme with banks such as Wells Fargo and JPMorgan Chase. They are charged of receiving cash and marketing services in exchange for giving mortgage loan referrals to the banks.

The CFPB named the individuals as follows: Jay Zukerberg and Brandon Glickstein, the owner and marketing director respectively of defunct Genuine TitleGary Klopp, Adam Mandelberg,  and Angela Pobletts (all loan officers); and William Peterson, the president of a mortgage brokerage. Genuine Title is accused of paying the loan officers by running the kickbacks through limited liability companies.

“Paying kickbacks for mortgage referrals is illegal, and it has been illegal for decades,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray in a press release. “Secret and unlawful payments keep consumers in the dark and put honest businesses at a disadvantage, and the consumer bureau will continue to take action against them.”

Click on the Real Estate Settlement Practices Act (RESPA) to learn about its anti-kickback provisions.

Read the original article in National Mortgage News.

Monique Bryher speaks at ACFE chapter meeting

May 1st, 2015 at 10:21am

This past week, I was invited by the L.A. Chapter of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners to be one of the key speakers at their monthly meeting.

My topic was short sale fraud and real estate fraud in general and the impact it has on neighborhoods, the community at-large, jobs and public services. I was told that the attendees (CPAs, auditors, fraud investigators and prosecutors) enjoyed this look at the dark side of real estate, which was indicated by the many thoughtful questions they asked.

Millionaire pro surfer charged in short sale fraud

May 1st, 2015 at 9:45am

Conan Hayes, a world tour surfer, founder of the RVCA clothing business and the star of Taylor Steele’s Momentum series faces is in hot water for the short sale he made on a Costa Mesa home he owned.

Short sales are approved by banks when the homeowner can no longer afford the mortgage and can prove financial hardship. In Hayes’ case, the warrant for his arrest alleges Hayes submitted Bank of America false information about his true net worth, claiming he was unemployed. The felony complaint further alleges that as a result, Bank of America lost $586,245 from the short sale, which is also the amount of Hayes’ bail.

Prosecutors from the Orange County District Attorney’s Office contend that less than a year before the sale of his home, Conan Hayes sold his interest in a business for almost $8 million to surfing merchandise giant Billabong and paid cash for a $1.39 million house in Los Angeles County.

Click Conan Hayes Felony Complaint Warrant to read the OCDA’s felony warrant complaint.

Read the original article in the OC Register and a second updated 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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