California Real Estate Fraud Report

You have just entered the #1 private-sector resource on the Internet for real estate fraud. In doing so, you have voluntarily left the dimension of the conventional real estate world and crossed over to the Dark Side, the realm where greed, dishonesty and evil are the order of the day. Sign up for a free subscription to this comprehensive news resource and receive weekly, timely news reports about real estate fraud, mortgage fraud, short sale fraud, REO fraud, title fraud, loan fraud, appraisal fraud, affinity fraud, loan modification scams, securities fraud and elder financial fraud. *** AS OF NOVEMBER 2017, THE CALIFORNIA REAL ESTATE FRAUD REPORT IS 10 YEARS OLD! ***

Former Sales Rep Accuses Move Inc., Parent of Realtor.com of Defrauding Real Estate Agents

January 11th, 2018 at 4:18pm

Brian Bobik, a former employee of Move Inc., has filed an eight-count amended complaint in Los Angeles Superior Court alleging wrongful termination from Move Inc.  as retaliation for objecting to what he believed to be unlawful conduct by the News Corp. subsidiary.

Move Inc. is the parent company that oversees realtor.com.

Move Inc. sells zip codes to agents that are leads to potential property sellers. Bobik claims that many of the leads are bogus and that when agents try to cancel their accounts with Move Inc., he and other sales reps were ordered to continue charging the agents.

A realtor.com spokesperson denied the allegations, saying they “are without merit.”

The law firm representing Brian Bobik is Berokim & Duel, P.C., located in Beverly Hills.

Read the original article in Inman.

Fresno Man Sues Ex-Wife, Claims She Stole His Properties

January 11th, 2018 at 9:14am

Ronald Nelson filed a lawsuit on December 15, 2017 in Fresno County Superior Court against Linda Vasquez and Does 1-20. Nelson, alleges his former wife caused him to suffer damages and losses of more than $200,000 and is suing for fraud, deceit, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

The  lawsuit alleges that that Linda Vasquez and the other defendants represented that he had died in order to seize properties they owned in a joint tenancy in Alameda an Sanger. But it was the death certificate of his deceased son that was presented.

Ronald Nelson is represented by attorney Malcolm Leader-Picone of Leader-Picone & Young LLP in Oakland.

Read the original article in the Northern California Record.

Three Defendants Convicted by Federal Jury in Modesto Mortgage Fraud Scheme

January 5th, 2018 at 10:51am

Three people were convicted of operating a mortgage fraud scheme involving 14 Northern California houses located in Modesto, Patterson and Stockton.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Sacramento said that Surjit Singh, 71, of Dublin, and his son, Rajeshwar Singh, 43, of Pleasanton, each were found guilty of four counts of mail fraud, four counts of bank fraud, and four counts of false statements on loan and credit applications. The third person, Anita Sharma, 55, of Gilroy, was convicted of two counts of mail fraud, two counts of bank fraud, and two counts of making false statements on loan and credit applications.

The elder Singh recruited people with good credit to act as “straw buyers” for residential properties owned by his relatives and others. The straw buyers were the people who lied in their loan applications included about their income, employment, liabilities and intent to live in the homes as their primary residences. His son, who at the time was a licensed real estate agent, submitted loan applications on behalf of the straw buyers, according to prosecutors.

Anita Sharma was one of the straw buyers.

Note: This is the first time in 10 years that the California Real Estate Fraud Report has been able to report a prosecution of a straw buyer.

Sharma, who was a dental assistant, could not afford to purchase the five homes she did that were located in Modesto, San Jose, San Ramon, Elk Grove and Sacramento.

The homes were later either foreclosed upon or sold in short sales.

To learn how these defendants benefited by the mortgage fraud-related crimes, read the original article in the Modesto Bee.

Massachusetts Attorney Has License Suspended after Fraud Conviction

December 29th, 2017 at 12:16pm

 

Massachusetts’ Board of Bar Overseers has suspended the license of Jasmin Polanco, who pleaded guilty this year for a federal mortgage fraud charge, specifically, conspiracy to commit bank fraud.

Polanco, 37, was a real estate closing attorney in the Greater Lawrence area, was one of several individuals who pleaded guilty in connection with a “sweeping conspiracy to defraud banks and mortgage companies by engaging in sham short sales of residential properties in the Merrimack Valley,” according to the Department of Justice.

In this case, fraudulent short sales were conducted in which the lenders were duped into approving short sales, yet the remained in their homes, their mortgages substantially reduced.

Imprisonment, fines and restitution in Polanco’s case have yet to be determined for Polanco, as well as for Vanessa Ricci, 40, a mortgage loan officer who pleaded guilty to the same charge as Jasmin Polanco.

According to federal charging documents:

– The conspirators falsely led banks to believe that the sales were arms-length transactions between unrelated parties, when in fact, the transactions were not arms-length; the buyers and sellers were frequently related and the sellers retained control of (and frequently continued to live in) the properties after the sale;

– The conspirators submitted phony earnings statements in support of loan applications that they submitted to banks in order to obtain financing for the purported sales.

Read the original article in the Eagle-Tribune and the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts.

Watch Out for Scams Following California Wildfires

December 29th, 2017 at 12:01pm

As many readers know, con artists and scammers follow natural disasters with phony non-profits and fraudulent solicitations to help disaster victims.

Chuck Hughes, chief deputy district attorney for the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office, is warning the public that his office has received a number of fraud reports connected to the Thomas Fire. The complaints have to do with price gouging within the disaster zone, fake GoFundMe accounts soliciting donations for fire victims, phony repair companies offering to do cleanup work, unlicensed contractors, and other con games.

The Camarillo Acorn has published the following information for members of the public who wish to help:

On Dec. 15, officials at United Way of Santa Barbara County and United Way of Ventura County announced the creation of a joint fund to directly help individuals and families affected by the fire in both counties. Donating to the fund is the best way to help victims, said Eric Harrison, CEO of United Way of Ventura County.

“The United Way Thomas Fire Fund is the only fund that’s officially recognized by the (Ventura County) Sheriff’s Office of Emergency Services and the Red Cross,” Harrison said.

As of Dec. 18, the fund had raised $2.25 million, all of which will go to fire victims, officials said in a news release.

To be sure money gets to fire victims, people can make donations at unitedwaythomasfirefund.orgunitedwaysb.org and vcunitedway.org, or by phone at (805) 485-6288.

Checks can be mailed to United Way of Ventura County, 702 County Square Drive, Ste. 100, Ventura, CA, 93003. Write “Thomas Fire Fund” in the memo line.

Guilty Verdicts against Three Defendants in Sonoma Valley Bank Real Estate Fraud

December 22nd, 2017 at 12:04pm

Two former bank executives and a Santa Rosa attorney were convicted by a jury for running a $35 million real estate loan scam that caused the failure of Sonoma Valley Bank in 2010, along with the retirement savings of the bank’s elderly investors.

The three defendants who were convicted of at 25 different counts or more, including conspiracy to commit bank fraud and money laundering, were the bank’s former president and chief executive officer, Sean Cutting, 48, formerly of Sonoma; ex-vice president and chief loan officer Brian Melland, 48, of Santa Rosa; and attorney David Lonich, 63, of Santa Rosa.

Lonich was the attorney for the late Marin County developer Bijan Madjlessi. Prosecutors alleged the bank knowingly allowed Madjlessi to use straw borrowers to get access to loans for which he wouldn’t otherwise have qualified and to finance an extravagant lifestyle.

Last year the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) settled with Cutting, Melland and former CEO and director Mel Switzer for $5.4 million in a civil action.

Read the original article in the Marin Independent Journal.

California Woman Sues Bank of America, Alleging Fraud

December 22nd, 2017 at 11:43am

Indio resident Lori Martinez filed a complaint on December 1 in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, Eastern Division against Bank of America NA, alleging the banking giant committed fraud against her.

Martinez purchased a home in 2000 in Cathedral City, which she refinanced in 2008. Bank of America was the loan servicer for the refinanced loan.

In 2009, she contacted the bank and requested a modification under the federal government Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) program. She alleges that she was advised by one of the Bank’s representatives to stop making mortgage payments because it was a prerequisite to obtaining a HAMP modification. After ceasing to make her mortgage payments, Martinez defaulted and her home was foreclosed.

Lori Martinez is represented by Sin-Ting Mary Liu of Aylstock, Witkin, Kreis & Overholtz PLLC in Alameda, California.

U.S. District Court for the Central District of California Eastern Division case number 5:17-cv-02426-R-SP

Read the original article in Legal Newsline.

Santa Barbara Pair Indicted for Operating Fake Distressed Properties Website

December 19th, 2017 at 11:35am

Operators of a Lompoc call center that sold lists of foreclosed or pre-foreclosure properties have been indicated by a federal grand jury impaneled by the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois.

Michael S. Davenport, 49, owner of the business, variously called American Standard OnlineMDSQ Productions, LLC, Housing Standard, LLC, Anchor House Financial, American Standard and Your American Standard, was charged with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, five counts of wire fraud, and one count of mail fraud, as was his sales manager Cynthia L. Rawlinson, 51. Both are Santa Barbara residents.

The business, which was said by federal authorities to have operated from 2009 to 2016, is alleged to have taken in $27 million over eight years and included victims from all 50 states. Call center employees told the customers that for the subscription fee of $199, they would receive access to the website, where they could find homes for sale and take over mortgage payments for those in foreclosure or pre-foreclosure. Complaints from customers stated the homes were either not for sale, didn’t exist, or the homeowners weren’t in foreclosure.

Read the original article in Noozhawk.

 

Chatsworth Father and Daughter Convicted in $30 Million Family-Owned Mortgage Relief Fraud Scheme

December 15th, 2017 at 9:17am

Jamie Matsuba, 33, and Thomas Matsuba, 67, were found guilty in Los Angeles federal court of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, making false statements to federally insured banks and committing identity theft, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. They were also convicted of one count of making false statements to federally insured banks.

Dorothy Matsuba, 66, of Chatsworth, who is the mother of Jamie Matsuba and Thomas Matsuba‘s wife, and their daughter, Jane Matsuba-Garcia, 41, of Camarillo, both previously pleaded guilty. A fifth defendant, Young Park, of Los Angeles, is a fugitive.

Dorothy MatsubaJamie Matsuba, and Jane Matsuba all hold either current or expired licenses with the California Bureau of Real Estate.

The family ran business named Ownership Management Service LLC and Trust Holding Service LLC from January 2005 to August 2014. The companies promised homeowners get help for distressed homeowners by doing short sales with the lenders. The homeowners were told to deed their homes to trust controlled by the Matsubas, who further promised the homeowners they would pay their mortgages during the negotiation period with the banks.

Read the original article in SatPRNews and MyNewsLA.com

 

Authorities Warn of Con Artists and Scams Targeting Victims of Thomas Fire

December 15th, 2017 at 9:06am

The Ventura County District Attorney’s Office is warning residents to be on the watch for price gouging after the inception of the Thomas Fire, now the fourth-largest blaze in California’s recorded history.

Deputy District Attorney Brian Rafelson reported that the District Attorney’s Office has received complaints about price gouging for housing and gas. They have set up a hotline dedicated to fielding these calls, which is 805-662-1728.

The latest scheme involves con artists posing as insurance agents and promising affected residents “expedited” insurance coverage or pay-outs in exchange for a deductible increase.

Read the original article in the Ventura County Star.

© Copyright 2007-2018 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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