California Real Estate Fraud Report

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Archive for the 'Real Estate Crimes' Category

Man Charged with Stealing Identities, Forging Real Estate Documents

September 14th, 2017 at 12:31pm

Vu Hoang Ho has been charged the the L.A. County District Attorney’s Office with stealing the identities of deceased persons or “living elderly victims.” He allegedly forged their names on real estate documents and recorded them with the L.A. County Recorder’s Office so that he could acquire them (title fraud), says the Sheriff’s Information Bureau.

Ho then tried to re-sell the properties to buyers who were unaware of what had transpired.

The case was investigated by the Real Estate Fraud Unit of the Sheriff’s Fraud & Cyber Crimes Bureau.

Read the original article in the San Gabriel Valley Tribune and MyNewsLA.com.

Four Phoenix Family Members Sentenced For Real Estate Fraud and Tax Evasion

September 14th, 2017 at 12:13pm

All in the Family – parents and two sons go to prison for operating large-scale real estate fraud scheme.

“PHOENIX – Yesterday, Senior U.S. District Judge Neil V. Wake sentenced Daphne Iatridis and her husband, Arthur Telles, both 59, to 30 months in prison and ordered the couple to forfeit 26 fraudulently purchased properties to the United States. Both had previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and tax evasion. The couple’s sons, Brendyn Iatridis and Spenser Iatridis, also pleaded guilty to related crimes and were sentenced to 10 months in prison and probation, respectively.”

Read the full press release by the U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona.

Central Coast Developer Kelly Gearhart Gets New Sentencing, Restitution Hearing

September 8th, 2017 at 8:47am

Developer Kelly Gearhart, sentenced to 14 years in prison in 2015 for wire fraud and money laundering, will receive a new sentencing and restitution hearing after the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Judge Otis Wright II erred in sentencing Gearhart to 14 years in federal prison. Gearhart pleaded guilty in 2014 to real estate fraud.

The appellate court determined that Judge Wright erred when he sentenced Gearhart to 14 years for money laundering even though the maximum sentence is 10 years according to statute. The appellate court further determined the judge didn’t spend enough time on matters related to enhancements and the restitution amount, which is currently sealed.

Kelly Gearhart failed in his motion to have the rehearing assigned to another judge.

Read the original article in the Cal Coast Times.

NY Cop and His Friend in Hot Water over Alleged Short Sale Fraud

August 18th, 2017 at 8:50am

Retired NYPD police officer Michael Rizzi and his friend Edward Monahan have been charged with bank fraud and conspiracy to commit bank fraud with an allegedly fraudulent short sale the two men committed.

Rizzi and Monahan are accused of submitting false documentation to Rizzi’s bank in order to do a short sale of a multi-family building on Lafayette Avenue in New Brighton, for which Monahan was the buyer.

The men, both 45 years old, signed affidavits affirming that they had no business, personal or family relationships with each other. But the criminal complaint alleges that Rizzi withdrew $17,500 from his bank accounts and altered one of his bank statements to make it look like the money came from Monahan’s bank account.

In addition, Rizzi was paid $10,000 in relocation assistance money from the Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives (HAFA) federal program.

The bank lost $250,000 as a result of the transaction.

In the meantime, Michael Rizzi is serving a 15-month federal prison sentence for laundering the proceeds from a multimillion-dollar prostitution ring.

Read the press release from the Office of the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York (U.S. Attorney for Manhattan) and SI Live.

 

 

Criminals Hacking into Real Estate Agents’ Emails, Stealing Down-Payments, Closing Funds

August 4th, 2017 at 10:33am

If you’re purchasing a home, watch out for this latest real estate fraud scam by hackers.

Criminals are hacking into the email accounts of real estate agents, escrow and title companies. They pose as legitimate parties to the real estate sale and have convinced many unsuspecting buyers to wire their down-payments or closing funds to accounts controlled by the hackers. As a result, a number of home buyers have lost their life’s saving, which are usually not recoverable.

In one case, attorney Matt Borden’s is suing a real estate company on behalf of his client who lost $500,000 due to a similar fraudulent email from her real estate agent’s email account.

“She was crushed. This was her life savings,” said Borden.

The National Association of Realtors and the FBI have issued warnings about these sophisticated email scams targeting the real estate industry.

Read the original article in CBS Local.

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.

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.

Los Osos Real Estate Broker is Target of Allegations of Fraud re: Septic Credits

July 7th, 2017 at 11:22am

Septic credits” occur when an old building is demolished in Los Osos and the owner can use the historical credit to re-build. The septic credits can be bought, sold and transferred from one parcel to another.

In Los Osos, when building isn’t impossible, it’s at least complicated.

Due to septic contamination of groundwater since 1988, developers, real estate brokers and their agents have used creativity to make projects happen. But because of the complexities, things can get complicated, leading to contract disputes and lawsuits when projects fair to complete.

The recent partnership between Los Osos real estate broker Jeff Edwards, of J.H. Edwards Company, and Fresno-based developer the Los Osos Investment Group, appears to have ended poorly. There are lawsuits betweens the former partners and accusations of “fraudulent conduct, negligence, and misrepresentation” made against Edwards by the California Bureau of Real Estate (BRE).

This is a very complex story, but one well-worth reading.

Read the original article in Full Times SLO.

Woman Pleads No Contest in Craigslist Rent Fraud

June 23rd, 2017 at 8:29am

A woman pleaded no contest to a felony grand theft charge for taking deposits for rental property she did not own.

The Salinas Police Department had received multiple complaints from people saying that Veronica Lopez was posing as the owner of a Salinas property which was advertised in Craigslist. Lopez took a $1,000 deposit from one prospective renter, who later became suspicious and verified that she was not the owner.

Veronica Lopez was prosecuted by the Monterey County District Attorney’s Office.  Deputy District Attorney John Hubanks from the District Attorney’s Real Estate Fraud Unit and District Attorney Investigator Alicia Cox handled the case.

Read the original article in The Salinas Californian.

 

REFAT Has Emerged As a Hope for the Victims of Real Estate Crime in Ventura County

May 5th, 2017 at 9:31am

Ventura County, CA, USA – May 4, 2017 – Real Estate Fraud Advisory Team [REFAT] has made an appeal to the residents of Ventura County, California to be aware of the real estate related scams and frauds. REFAT takes a request to the general public and has asked them to report anyone who does fraud related to the matters of property, particularly the fraudulent realtors of the county. REFAT’s program outreaches to escrow companies, lenders, real estate agents, title companies & other such pros from the industry.

“We are waging a war against fraudulent realtors and we want a scam-free, transparent and reasonable property in the Ventura County,” said Jim Keith, the Chair and Founder of REFAT. “We aim to prevent, detect and report the real estate frauds happening in our county to ensure a scam-free realty,” he added. Several individuals and groups have already been arrested due to the actions taken against them by Ventura County district attorney fraud unit. REFAT wants the county as well as the state to be free from scams and rip-offs. The worst bit is that the victims are mostly senior citizens and people with modest English-speaking abilities.

Criminals, felons and scammers such as Patrick Iturra, Rod Scott Hormell, Michael McDevitt, Joe Garcia and several others were arrested and sentenced up to 10 years due to the efforts of Ventura County district attorney fraud unit and REFAT. These fraudsters have ripped off the residents for millions of dollars. In a nutshell, REFAT has come up with a promise to prevent, detect and report real estate fraud in the County as they also provides tools & resources that help to effectively spot the warning signals of real estate scam so that the fraud can be avoided beforehand.

To report a crime, a real estate fraud or a fraudulent realtor, please visit www.refat.org

Media Contact
Company Name: Real Estate Fraud Advisory Team [REFAT]
Contact Person: Jim Keith
Email: Justin@vent2wire.com
Phone: (805) 432 5843
Country: United States
Website: www.REFAT.org

 

© Copyright 2007-2017 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.

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