California Real Estate Fraud Report

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Archive for the 'Real Estate Fraud' Category

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.

 

Atwater Couple Indicted in Federal Mortgage Fraud Probe

October 20th, 2017 at 8:58am

John Ballard, 55, and Judy Calderon Ballard, 54, are two of the four people named in a federal indictment by the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of California.  The Ballards are charged with conspiracy, wire fraud and bank fraud with respect to an alleged short-sale scheme, according to U.S. Attorney Phillip Talbert.

The other two defendants are Sherry Herbert, 54, and Andrea Todd, 53.

John and Judy Ballard were licensed real estate salespersons according to prosecutors. When they defaulted on their home in Atwater, they asked their lender to permit them to sell their home to Herbert and Todd but had no intention of actually transferring the property to them.

Read the original article in the Modesto Bee.

Navy FCU Hit by Home Equity Loan Fraud (HELOC Fraud)

October 5th, 2017 at 8:16am

Atlanta business owner Thomas Scott Brown, 47 was sentenced to three years in prison last week for operating a home equity loan fraud (HELOC fraud) scheme that cost losses of almost $3 million for the $82 billion Navy Federal Credit Union.

In addition to his prison sentence, U. S. District Judge Claude M. Hilton also ordered Brown to pay $2.7 million in restitution and to serve five years of supervised released. Brown pleaded guilty in May to one felony count of bank fraud and one felony count to making a false statement to a financial institution.

Brown’s scheme – which involved over 50 properties – centered on him purchasing properties with his own money and putting them in the name of straw buyers. Ownership was transferred to the straw buyers, who were then directed to apply for HELOC loans and to pay those proceeds to him. For his efforts, he earned profits of $1.4 million.

Read the original article in Credit Union Times.

 

Appraisal-free mortgages will make closings easier – and create more opportunities for fraud

September 23rd, 2017 at 10:02am

There’s no doubt that decisions by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to not require appraisals on certain loan categories will create a shift in residential real estate transactions. The downside is that this creates new opportunities for fraud.

Read the full article in Inman News.

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.

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.

© 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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