California Real Estate Fraud Report

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Archive for the 'Mortgage Fraud' Category

Lafayette Real Estate Agent Pleads Guilty to Wire Fraud, Money Laundering

July 25th, 2017 at 9:42am

Real estate agent Robert Jacobsen, 69, pleaded guilty Wednesday to federal charges related to a complex scheme in which he fraudulently obtained the title to homes (title fraud) and then resold them at market prices.

Federal prosecutors said that Jacobsen pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud and one count of money laundering by setting up “sham companies” and lawsuits to falsely make it appear that mortgage liens connected to two homes were invalidated.

“Jacobsen admitted that two homes that were the subjects of such lawsuits were in Danville, Calif., and San Francisco, Calif.  Jacobsen admitted that, after obtaining fraudulent judgments, he sold the Danville home for $540,000 and the San Francisco home for $1.2 million.  Jacobsen admitted that in both cases, his representations regarding the fraudulent court judgments had a natural tendency to influence the buyers to purchase the homes.”

Read the press release by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California.

Mortgage Modification Fraud Gets Long Prison Sentences for 3 Orange County Residents

July 25th, 2017 at 9:27am

Three Orange County residents received long prison sentences for conning over 3,000 homeowners nationwide in an $11 million mortgage modification scam.

Sammy Araya, 41, the mastermind, received 20 years, while his co-defendants Michael Henderson, 49, received 12 years, and Jen Seko, 36, got 7 years.

“For Sammy Araya, Michael Henderson and Jen Seko, the financial struggles of more than 3,000 homeowners were an opportunity for theft,” said Christy Goldsmith Romero, the Special Inspector General for SIGTARP, in a statement.

Nine other Orange County and Las Vegas residents previously pleaded guilty for their participation in this mortgage modification fraud and also were sentenced to stiff prison terms.

Crime Didn’t Pay for This Short Sale Fraud in Florida

July 20th, 2017 at 4:04pm

Casey Padula, a Charlotte County businessman, received a sentence of nearly five years in prison on charges of conspiring to commit tax and bank fraud.

In addition to transferring almost $2.5 million from Demandblox Inc., his marketing business to offshore accounts in Belize, Padula, 48, committed short sale fraud. He sent a letter to his lender Bank of America saying he could no longer afford his $1.5-million Port Charlotte home. Investigators say Padula gave Robert Robinson, 43, money from Padula’s Belize accounts to “buy” Padula’s home in a short sale at the sweet price of $625,000. Two months after the short sale closed, Robinson transferred title back to Padula for $1.

Lucky Robert Robinson only received five years of probation for his role in defrauding Bank of America.

Casey Padula was ordered to pay a $100,000 fine, restitution of $728,609 to the IRS and $739,459.90 to Bank of America.

Read the original article in NBC2 News.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Must Be Saved

July 11th, 2017 at 8:37am

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), created as part of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, is one of the few federal agencies that exists to protect We ThePeople against predatory, misleading and fraudulent practices financial institutions have used to steal from us.

One of the CFPB‘s most recent accomplishments was to fine Wells Fargo $185 million and force it to return fees it had unlawfully charged its customers. This was in conjunction with a lawsuit filed against Wells Fargo by the Los Angeles City Attorney.

The current Administration and Republicans in Congress are openly trying to shut down the CFPB and go back to the “good old days” of no regulation of the financial sector.

Read this interesting article called “Why We Need to Save the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.”

Sacramento Loan Processor Sentenced for Participation in Widespread Mortgage Fraud

July 7th, 2017 at 11:08am

Loan processor Sergey Shchirskiy, 41, has been sentenced to seven years and 10 months in prison for his role in a mortgage fraud conspiracy that caused losses of $2.7 million to lenders.

Shchirskiy was the target of a joint investigation by the FBI and IRS for white-collar crimes that began as early as 2007. According to U.S. Deputy District Attorney Phillip A. Talbert, Shchirskiy’s role was to recruit straw buyers and to prepare fraudulent loan applications for the straw buyers. He and his 15 co-conspirators took out equity lines of credit and all the properties were foreclosed.

U.S. District Judge Troy Nunley imposed sentence.

Read the press release from the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of California.

 

Prospect Mortgage to Pay $4.157 million in Penalties to Resolve Fraud Allegations

July 7th, 2017 at 10:55am

Prospect Mortgage Company is set to pay a penalty of $4.157 million to resolve claims by several attorneys general that it committed mortgage fraud while participating in the government’s Direct Lender Endorsement Program.

According to federal prosecutors, Prospect Mortgage defrauded the government during and after the run-up to the housing crisis through its participation in the Direct Endorsement program, which the feds claim cost taxpayers millions.

The program is administered by the Federal Housing Administration and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. As a DE lender, Prospect was able to originate, underwrite and endorse mortgages for FHA insurance. But the U.S. Justice Department alleged that Prospect falsely certified that the FHA-insured loans it had originated complied with critical quality-control requirements, when they did not.

Prospect Mortgage sold its operating assets to HomeBridge Financial in February 2017.

Read the original article in Mortgage Professional America.

Sacramento Man Sentenced in Mortgage Fraud Csae

June 16th, 2017 at 8:43am

Sergey Shchirskiy, 41, a loan processor in Sacramento, has been sentenced to seven years and 10 months in prison for his role in two mortgage fraud schemes and one tax fraud scheme, according to the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of California.

Between April and November 2007, Shchirskiy and his co-conspirators purchased properties with straw buyers and took out home equity lines of credit using fraudulent documents and statements that Shchirskiy created. He also recruited the straw buyers and the loan applications he submitted contained untrue information about the buyers’ income, assets and intent to occupy the houses.

Read the original article in the Central Valley Business Times.

Former Employees Sue American Financial Corp., Claim Retaliatory Firing for Exposing Fraud

June 16th, 2017 at 8:08am

Four former employees of American Financial Corp. have filed a whistleblower lawsuit, accusing the company of firing them after they attempted to expose AFC’s alleged mortgage fraud.

The plaintiffs are Chris Springer, Steffen Mehnert and Sandra Reynolds, who were mortgage consultants, and Stacia Springer, a pre-qualification specialist. They say they were fired after they reported their concerns to management in March 2017.

The lawsuit alleges that the company intentionally falsified loan information, faked signatures, withheld negative financial information about an applicant and faked compliance with key deadlines.

American Financing issued a statement to The Denver Post, saying it will defend itself “vigorously against this meritless lawsuit and the false allegations …”

JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo, US Bank, Flagstar Bank and PennyMac, were the banks allegedly defraud according to the lawsuit, as well as the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority.

Read the original article in The Denver Post.

 

New York Attorney Sentenced to 4 Years for Short Sale Fraud Scheme

May 11th, 2017 at 3:27pm

New York attorney Helene Stetch, 53, of Lindenhurst, has been sentenced Wednesday to  a prison term of 16 months to four years, according to a press release by the Queens County District Attorney.  In a novel form of short sale fraud, Stetch was accused of selling homes to new owners without paying off both the existing mortgages and obtaining approval from all lien holders.

The homeowners who thought they were conducting legitimate short sales were later surprised to receive foreclosure notices.

Stetch had worked at the law office of Kenneth Schwartz at Carle Place in New York and wrote most of the disbursement checks, which Schwartz, 67, signed.

Helene Stetch executed eight confessions of judgment totaling about $2.3 million, while Kenneth Schwartz executed confessions of judgment in favor of two homeowners totaling about $129,000.

Read the original article in the ABA Journal.

Vallejo Man Gets 10 Years in Prison for Stealing $10 Million

May 11th, 2017 at 3:13pm

Karim Akil, 50, was sentenced in federal court to 10 years in prison for conspiracy to commit mortgage fraud and money laundering.

Akil was first indicted in 2009, entered a guilty plea as part of a plea deal in 2012 but according to prosecutors defrauded more people in 2012 and 2013 while waiting to be sentenced.

In a press release, Michael T. Batdorf, an IRS special agent in charge in the IRS Criminal Investigation Division, said “Mr. Akil enjoyed a lavish lifestyle, with outrageous expenditures. Akil left a path of destruction, from properties that went into default and foreclosure, to straw buyers whose credit was ruined, to an escrow company that went out of business.”

Read the original article in the Fairfield Daily Republic.

 

© 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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