California Real Estate Fraud Report

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Archive for the 'Investment Fraud' Category

Sonoma Valley Bank Fraud Trial for Former Executives Begins

October 27th, 2017 at 8:59am

Federal prosecutors began presenting their case against two former Sonoma Valley Bank executives and a Santa Rosa attorney, accusing them of “throwing good money after bad” by extending tens of millions of dollars to a now-deceased developer through third parties.

The defendants are former president Sean Cutting, 48, former VP and Chief Loan Officer Brian Melland, 48, and attorney David Lonich, 63. Lonich was the chief counsel to Bijan Madjlessi, a Marin County developer accused of using straw buyers to get $44 million in construction loans.

Cutting, Melland and former CEO and director Mel Switzer settled with the FDIC last year for $5.4 million.

The alleged scheme put the bank out of business and cost 1,000 shareholders steep losses.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Alex Tse is prosecuting the case for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California.

Read the original article in the Santa Rosa Press Democrat.

Trial of Paso Robles Hard Money Lenders Goes to Trial – after 10 Years

October 27th, 2017 at 8:42am

Ten years after the former owners of Real Property Lenders allegedly scammed investors out of hundreds of thousands of dollars, they are set for trial.

Rodney Jarmin and Tammy Jordan, were hard money lenders who are now looking at several counts of selling securities by means of false statements or omissions.

Hard money loans are considered high-yield but risky investments. In this case Real Property Lenders are accused by prosecutors from the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office of not disclosing to their investors that they builders to which they had loan money for construction of the Heritage Ranch and Ground Squirrel Hollow subdivisions had defaulted on their loans and that the previous investors had not been paid dividends.

Read the original article in the San Luis Obispo Tribune.

Two Men Sentenced to Lengthy Prison Terms for San Diego “Mansion Fraud” Case

October 20th, 2017 at 9:15am

San Diego businessman and a lawyer from Arizona received length sentences for engineering a multi-million real estate loan fraud in San Diego.

U.S. District Court Judge William Q. Hayes sentenced Cortland Gettel, 43 of Coronado to 135 months in prison and Jeffrey Greenberg, 67, of Tucson, Arizona to 81 months.

Gettel owned Conix, real estate investment firm that was also known as Variant Commercial Real Estate. Greenberg was the company’s attorney. Prosecutors had accused the pair of misleading lenders into approving loans for them to purchase four multi-million dollar mansions in La Jolla and Del Mar under the pretext the properties were high-end investment and luxury rentals. What really happened was that Gettel, his business partner Peter Cash Doye and their families lived in the homes.

Read the original article in the San Diego Union Tribune.

 

North San Luis Obispo County Lenders Accused of Scamming Investors Headed to Trial

September 15th, 2017 at 8:43am

Two years after Rodney Jarmin and Tammy Jordan, former owners of Real Property Lenders, could have accepted a deal two years ago that would have kept them out of jail and required minimal restitution to the real estate investors they allegedly defrauded.

But Jarmin, 76, and Jordan, 65, rejected the deal and now they’re headed to trial.

Real Property Lenders acted as a middleman between investors who put up their funds to be used as hard money loans to developers. These investors were promised 12% annual interest payments.

Rodney Jarmin and Tammy Jordan were charge in March 2011 by prosecutors who alleged they didn’t disclose to the investors that the builders had defaulted and that earlier investors had not been paid their dividends. This is despite documents filed with the California Department of Corporations that Real Property Lenders had reported over $55 million in outstanding real estate loans in 2007.

Here is the web page prosecutors created to keep the investors notified of developments in the case.

Read the original article in The San Luis Obispo Tribune.

Clovis Man Charged with Operating a Ponzi Scheme

July 13th, 2017 at 7:41am

Clovis resident Seth Adam Depiano, 36, has been arrested Thursday and has been charged with mail fraud, wire fraud and money laundering.

In court document, Deplane is accused of operating a $20 million Ponzi scheme by luring unsuspecting real estate investors into his businesses, including The Rental Group, U.S. Funding and Home Services LLC and Draymond Homes.

He promised the investors that their funds would be used to purchase homes that would either be renovated and resold or turned into rental properties.

In addition, Depiano is accused selling the North Roosevelt apartment building in Fresno that he didn’t owned to his investors. Another complex in Fresno, the “Winery Complex,” was sold as an apartment building but is actually condominium units that are individually owned.

The FBI investigation began in September 2015 after a notary filed a report with the Los Gatos Police Department, claiming her signature had been forged (notary fraud) on a grant deed document for the North Roosevelt complex.

Seth Depiano’s case is being heard before the U.S. District Court in Las Vegas, the city in which he was arrested.

Read the original article in the Fresno Business Journal.

Newport Beach Man Agrees to Settlement with SEC on Golf Course, Real Estate Venture

February 17th, 2017 at 11:44am

Paul A. Garcia, of Newport Beach, has agreed to pay $3.3 million in settlement to fraud charges brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission. Garcia allegedly defrauded investors and misappropriated money from the investment fund he managed, Caliber Partnership I LLC on a golf resort and real estate venture deal.

Another person, Richard T. Woods of Southlake, Texas was accused of misrepresenting Caliber’s financial status in marketing materials that he prepared and which were approved by Garcia. According to the SEC’s complaint, one of the fraud victims was an 82-year-old who lost $250,000.

Read the original article in L.A. Biz.

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.

 

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.

 

Defendant in real estate fraud case used funds for plastic surgery, travel

October 4th, 2016 at 7:54am

Mission Viejo resident Francisco “Frank” Hobson, 39, has pleaded guilty to taking $2.3 million-plus from investors in a real estate investment fraud.

As part of his plea agreement for wire fraud, Hobson must repay his victims at least $1.5 million, according to federal prosecutors.

According to court records, Hobson operated his “business” between December 2010 and June 2016 and promised the victims their money would be used to purchase properties. In fact, the properties were either not for sale or didn’t exist and the documents Frank Hobson provided were fraudulent or forged.

At one time, Francisco Hobson was a licensed real estate agent with the California Bureau of Real Estate before his license was revoked in August 2016.

Hobson used the victims’ money to buy groceries, travel and for laser-hair removal and plastic surgery, according to court records.

“The defendant made simple promises to his victims, promises he never intended to fulfill,” said U.S. Attorney Eileen M. Decker in a statement. “The defendant then used his victims’ hard-earned money to fund his personal lifestyle.

Read the original article in the Orange County Register or the press release by the U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California.

 

Ventury County Woman Goes to Prison for Foreclosure Consultant Fraud

September 30th, 2016 at 7:29am

Sixty-one-year-old Gregoria Mendoza was sentenced by Ventura Superior Court Judge Ryan Wright to seven years and four months in state prison after she pleaded guilty to multiple counts of grand theft and one count of foreclosure consultant fraud.

Mendoza, a resident of Oak View, was also ordered to pay over $470,000 in restitution to her victims.

Mendoza operated six or more real estate investment schemes according to the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office, snagging investors from Ventura, Los Angeles and Tulare counties.

Read the full article in the VCStar / Ventura County Star.

© 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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