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! ***

Archive for the 'Mortgage Rescue Scams' Category

Two Members Of A Nevada City-Based Conspiracy Convicted In Multi-Million Dollar Bank And Title Fraud Scheme

December 8th, 2017 at 9:19am

The following is a press release by the FBI:

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Earlier today, a federal jury found two men guilty in a bank fraud scheme that sought to fraudulently eliminate home mortgages and then profit on the subsequent home sales, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.

George B. Larsen, 56, formerly of San Rafael, was found guilty of conspiracy and four counts of bank fraud. Larry Todt, 65, formerly of Malibu, was found guilty of conspiracy and one count of bank fraud.

According to court documents, between April 22, 2010, and November 18, 2011, Larsen and Todt were members of a conspiracy that ran a “mortgage elimination program” purporting to help distressed homeowners avoid foreclosure.  The conspirators fraudulently altered the chain of title on residential properties, sold the properties, and received the sales proceeds.

As a requirement for participation in the “mortgage elimination program,” the conspirators enrolled homeowners as members in a Nevada City-based church named Shon-te-East-a, Walks With Spirit, or its successor entity Pillow Foundation. The conspirators indicated to the homeowners these entities would offer protection against the banks.

Larsen and Todt each ran branches of the mortgage elimination program, recruiting homeowners into the scheme, marshalling the necessary recorded documents, and guiding the homes through sale. Once the homeowner enrolled with Shon-te-East-a or Pillow Foundation, Larsen and Todt would have a sham deed of trust created and recorded, giving the impression that the homeowner had refinanced the mortgage loan with a new lender. In reality, the new lender was a fake entity controlled by the conspirators, and the homeowner owed no money to the purported new lender.

The next step in the process was also a recorded document. The conspirators caused a fake deed of reconveyance to be recorded, giving the appearance that the true mortgage loan had been discharged and that the true lienholder no longer had a security interest in the home.

With title appearing to be clear, the conspirators caused the sale of the home, with the proceeds split between the co-conspirators and the homeowners.

In total, 37 properties were sold through the Shon-te-East-a conspiracy. The conspirators recorded fraudulent documents on an additional approximately 100 homes, but were unable to sell these before the scheme unraveled.

This case is the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Audrey B. Hemesath and Todd A. Pickles are prosecuting the case.

Three other co-defendants have previously entered guilty pleas. On April 21, 2017, Remus A. Kirkpatrick, formerly of Oceanside, pleaded guilty to one count of falsely making writings of lending associations. On May 26, 2017, Michael Romano, of Benicia, pleaded guilty to conspiracy, and on July 14, 2017, Laura Pezzi, of Roseville, pleaded guilty to falsely making writings of lending associations. They are scheduled to be sentenced on February 23, 2018.     Co-defendants John Michael DiChiara, of Penn Valley, and James Castle, of Santa Rosa, are still awaiting trial. The charges against DiChiara and Castle are only allegations:  both defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

In related cases, on September 4, 2015, Tisha Trites and Todd Smith, both of San Diego, pleaded guilty to related charges before U.S. District Judge Garland E. Burrell, Jr. They are scheduled to be sentenced on February 9, 2018.

Larsen and Todt are scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Garland E. Burrell, Jr. on March 16, 2018, at which time they each face a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The maximum penalty for bank fraud is 30 years and a $1 million fine. The actual sentences, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.

Coto de Caza Sentenced for the Second Time in a Month for Money Laundering and Foreclosure Fraud

October 20th, 2017 at 9:30am

Kevin Frank Rasher of Coto de Caza had convinced hundreds of homeowners that he could save their homes from foreclosure.

Rasher, 46, was sentenced in Orange County Superior Court to 12 years in prison after pleading guilty to 49 counts of money laundering and one count of preparing a false or fraudulent tax return. Less than a month ago, Rasher received an 8 year sentence after pleading guilty to multiple counts of mail fraud, which will be served concurrently.

According to both state and federal prosecutors, Kevin Rasher claimed at times to his 500 victims that he was an attorney or official with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and that they should send their payments directly to him. He used the money to enhance his lifestyle

Read the original article in the OC Register.

California Man Sentenced to Prison for Defrauding 500 Distressed Homeowners

October 6th, 2017 at 8:26am

California resident Kevin Rasher will spend the next eight years in prison following his guilty plea last May to 12 counts of mail fraud.

According to court documents filed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California, Rasher, 45, admitted that between 2011 and 2016 he told homeowners in distress to mail their mortgage payments to him to forward their lenders. The victims gained his trust because Rasher told them either that he was a HUD employee or an attorney. Instead, Rasher spent the $2.24 million on himself. The sum is the same as what the court ordered him to pay in restitution.

This case was investigated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of the Inspector General; the Office of the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP); the United States Postal Inspection Service; the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s Office of the Inspector General; and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The case against Rasher was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Rosalind Wang and Robert J. Keenan of the Santa Ana Branch Office.

Read the original article in HousingWire.

Three Men in Bakersfield Sentenced for Running Foreclosure Rescue Scam

July 25th, 2017 at 9:58am

A federal judge in Fresno sentenced three men to prison for operating a foreclosure rescue scam in Bakersfield and two other California cities.

Norwalk resident Martin Calzada, 30, received nine years; Juan Curiel, 38, of Visalia, received three years and five months; and Santiago Palacios-Hernandez, 48, of Salinas was sentenced to two years and nine months.

In addition, all three were ordered to pay over $1.1 million in restitution to their victims and federal mortgage lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Read the entire article in the Kern Golden Empire.

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.

Defendants in America’s Law Group, Rodis Law Group, Sentenced in Mortgage Modification Fraud Case

July 14th, 2017 at 8:48am

Charles Wayne Farris, 65, of Aliso Viejo and Ronald Rodis, 52, of Long Beach have been sentenced to prison for their roles in a mortgage modification fraud that defraud 1,500 distressed property owners out of over $9 million.

Farris was ordered to serve 47 months in prison, while Rodis, who had previously surrendered his license to practice law, was sentenced to 41 months. The California Real Estate Fraud Report reported back in August 2016 that both men had pleaded guilty to felony counts of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and were ordered to make restitution payments to their victims in the millions of dollars.

Bryan D’Antonio, who was the owner and operator of the Rodis Law Group, aka America’s Law Group, was sentenced to 97 months in prison in a plea deal.

According to the U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California, the victims were located by the defendants placing radio ads claiming the Rodis Law Group employed experienced attorneys who could help struggling homeowners get lower interest rates from their lenders or even get their mortgages reduced.

Read the original article in the Orange County Register.

 

 

New Mexico Attorney General Accuses California Real Estate Groups, Individuals of Fraud

June 9th, 2017 at 10:22am

New Mexico Attorney General Hector H. Balderas filed a complaint in February in U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico against the following businesses and persons: Real Estate Law Center PC, Erikson M. Davis, Deepak S. Parwatikar, Chad T. Pratt, The Balanced Legal Group, and Pinnacle Law Center PC.

The AG alleges that the defendants solicited homeowners into participating in a merit-less mass joinder actions without understanding the ramifactions.

U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico case number 1:17-cv-00251-KBM-SCY.

Read the original article in Legal News Line.

Fake Attorney Arraigned by OCDA for Mortgage Modification Scams

May 26th, 2017 at 7:33am

James Frank Barker, 57, Newport Beach was arraigned on May 17 for impersonating an attorney and defrauding several clients through debt consolidation and mortgage modification schemes.

Read the press release by the Orange County District Attorney.

Virginia Federal Jury Convicts 3 Orange County Residents in Mortgage Modification Scheme

May 11th, 2017 at 3:37pm

Three Orange County residents have been convicted by a federal jury in Virginia of cheating hundreds of people out of $10 million or possibly more.

Sammy Araya, 41, of Santa Ana, Michael Henderson, 49, of Costa Mesa, and Jen Seko, 36, of Anaheim are facing length prison sentences for operating a nationwide mortgage modification scam.

Federal prosecutors said that the victims had contacted Seko Direct Marketing, and were falsely told that their mortgage modifications would be approved if they paid thousands of dollars in fake “reinstatement fees” or “trial mortgage-modification payments.”

All three defendants face long prison sentences. Nine others from Orange County and Las Vegas had previously pleaded guilty for their participation.

Read the original article in the OC Register.

 

Brea Man Sentenced by Federal Judge to Long Prison Time for Multi-Million Dollar Mortgage Modification Scam

April 14th, 2017 at 9:41am

Despite the pleas of high-powered defense attorney Manny Medrano for an 18-month sentence, Bryan D’Antonio was sentenced to over eight years in prison for a operating a mortgage modification scam.

In imposing the sentence, U.S. District Judge David O. Carter ordered D’Antonio to not only serve 97 months in prison, but also 12 months in a halfway house, three years of supervised probation and to restitution of $3.8 million. Judge Carter noted that D’Antonio was still on supervised release after a four-year conviction for a previous medical-billing scheme.

Bryan D’Antonio was the owner and operator of Rodis Law Group and agreed last year to plead guilty to defrauding more than 1,500 people out of $9 million.

Although D’Antonio apologized to the court, Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph McNally characterized Rodis Law Group as a boiler room, telemarketer operation that lured desperate homeowners by advertising a non-existent team of attorney who would help the homeowners renegotiate their interest rates and principal balances.

Co-defendants Charles Wayne Farris of Aliso Viejo and Ronald Rodis of Irvine have, like D’Antonio, pleaded guilty to felony conspiracy to commit mail and wire-fraud charges and have yet to be sentenced.

Read the original article in the Orange County Register.

© 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.

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system, without written permission from the author, except for the inclusion of BRIEF QUOTATIONS in a review.

BLOG POWERED BY SHARP BIZ IMAGE

Copy Protected by Chetan's WP-Copyprotect.