California Real Estate Fraud Report

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Is DRE Failing to Protect Consumers against Real Estate Agents?

In a provocative article in the Modesto Bee, Garth Stapley writes that the California Department of Real Estate (DRE) is doing a disservice to Californians by not posting information on its Licensing Check web page about real estate agents who have been charged with crimes.

Stapley cites two instances in which this has occurred:

James Lee Lankford, the owner of Century 21 Apollo in Modesto, is charged with 49 counts in which it is alleged he fleeced lenders and elderly persons out of $10 million by forging documents. He was indicted by a federal grand jury but a diligent consumer looking up the status of his license would not know this.

The same goes for Darrell Anthony Souza, managing director of Sperry Van Ness/Souza & Associates in Modesto. He has been charged by local authorities in connection with grand theft and forgeries that caused a developer to lose $3.2 million. No indication that he has been criminally on the DRE’s License Check web page.

Lankford has been the subject of several postings in the California Real Estate Fraud Report.

The DRE’s regional manager, Bill Koenig, defends the DRE’s non-posting of criminal charges against licensees by stating “In this country, I believe, we are innocent until proven guilty.  Just because he’s indicted doesn’t mean he’s guilty.”

There are multiple articles on the internet about James Lee Lankford and Darrell Anthony Souza. Personally, I don’t see how either man’s rights are being violated if the DRE, which is supposed to protect consumers, indicates they have been indicted and provides links to the criminal complaints.

Read the full article in the Modesto Bee.

© Copyright 2007-2018 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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