California Real Estate Fraud Report

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Light Sentence for Executive Who Committed Real Estate Fraud

Michael John Bell, a former executive of Irvine-based Landmark Equities Group, has been sentenced to three years of informal probation and ordered to make restitution in return for pleading guilty to conspiracy to defraud another of property, a misdemeanor real estate fraud charge.

Bell, 33, was hired by James Merritt Eaton, 61, and his son Brian Chandler Eaton, 29 when James Eaton set up Landmark Equities Group, which worked with Quick Loan Funding, the now-defunct subprime mortgage lender. The Eatons had faced a number of counts of felony grand theft and identity theft, all of which were dismissed in exchange for their guilty pleas to one charge of conspiracy to defraud another of property. Their sentences were 180 days in jail and three years of informal probation.

In my opinion, all three got off easy. Some of the accusations against them included accessing accounts with legitimate appraisals for properties and removing negative comments in order to obtain higher appraisals. This was a common form of appraisal fraud during the subprime era and benefited the defendants and lenders because their commissions are tied to the amount of the loan.

Read the original article in the Beverly Hills Courier and the Corona del Mar Patch.

© 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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