California Real Estate Fraud Report

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Archive for August, 2008

Mortgage Fraud Reports Increase 42% in 1st Quarter 2008

August 29th, 2008 at 9:35am

According to the Mortgage Asset Research Institute, reports of mortgage fraud institutes were up 42% for the first quarter of 2008 compared to the same time last year. Florida accounted for almost 25% of those reports, followed by California and Illinois, Maryland and Michigan, which tied for third place.

The report is based on data submitted by institute subscribers about loans that were originated in the first quarter and have since been classified as fraudulent.

Subscribers to the Institute self-report their loans that were originated in the first quarter and which they later classified as fraudulent. Misrepresentation of income, employment history, debt and assets were the most common categories of fraud.

Read the Full Article in The Los Angeles Times Business Section.

FBI Predicted Mortgage Crisis . . . and Did Nothing

August 29th, 2008 at 9:25am

In 2004, when homeowners were dancing over the seemingly endless increase to values of their properties, Chris Swecker told reporters that the explosion in mortgage business had the potential to create huge losses. Chris Swecker, the FBI official in charge of criminal investigations, told reporters in September 2004 that “It has the potential to be an epidemic” but that the FBI was on the case and that “We think we can prevent a problem that could have as much impact as the S&L crisis.”

Read the Full Article in the Los Angeles Times Business Section.

Famous Russian Composer Sues for Mortgage Fraud

August 22nd, 2008 at 8:20am

Russian composer Vladimir Shainskiy, who was honored with the USSR State Prize in 1981, is enbroiled in a swindle by an Armenian woman and her husband, who managed to take control of his finances and leave him liable for $1.2 million in mortgage debt in 2007. Shainskiy, 82, alleges he was taken advantage of because of his age and his limited English skills.

Shainskiy and his wife have settled their lawsuit against severl real estate and mortgage professionals and their affiliates, claiming fraud, elder abuse, and “unconscionable” lending and real estate practices.

Read the Full Article in The Voice of San Diego by Kelly Bennett.

3 Charged in Elder Abuse in Monterey County

August 22nd, 2008 at 8:05am

Three unlicensed individuals holding themselves out as licensed real estate professionals have been charged with criminal conspiracy for perpetrating an alleged “foreclosure rescue” scam, whose victims were Salinas Valley homeowners.

Maria de Lourdes Ponce and Fabian Olivarez Casillas, and Melissa Garcia, have all been charged with criminal conspiracy. Ponce is also facing charges of residential burglary, elder abuse and grand theft. If it can be proven that they unlawfully took more than $150,000 from their victims, they could also face sentencing enhancements (additional incarceration time).

The local complaint alleges that the three suspects represented themselves as real estate loan professionals affiliated with a local lender, when in fact they were unlicensed and not affiliated with that lender. They targeted Spanish-speaking homeowners facing foreclosure and for an advance fee of $2,800, promised to help negotiate refinances of the borrowers’ homes or to lower their monthly mortgage payments.

County, though they were not licensed professionals nor affiliated with the company. The trio allegedly promised their victims, mostly Spanish-speakers in danger of losing their homes to foreclosure, that they could help negotiate lower monthly mortgage payments or refinance mortgage terms with lenders.

California Civil Code 2945.4 forbids so-called “foreclosure consultants” from taking money until their work is completed. Violations can result in 3 years incarceration for convicted offenders.

Read the Full Article in The San Jose Mercury News.

Grass Valley Attorney Investigated for Real Estate Fraud

August 22nd, 2008 at 7:51am

Three state agencies are investigating a Grass Valley mortgage company for complaints of real estate fraud and other crimes.

Loan Sense, owned by attorney Thomas Hastert, is under investigation from the California State Department of Justice, the California State Bar and the California Department of Real Estate. Many of Hastert’s victims are thought to be the elderly.

Read the Full Article in The Union by Laura Brown.

D.A. Investigating Century 21 Owner in Modesto

August 17th, 2008 at 11:46am

District Attorney investigators in Modesto are looking into more complaints against Century 21 Apollo owner Jim Lankford, who was recently charged with defrauding the heir of a dead woman. Now he is being accused of swindling a large part of another widow’s family fortune.

Just two weeks ago, Lankford, obstetrician Dennise Davis and Lankford’s Century 21 broker and co-owner Stelios Papadopoulos were charged with forgery, filing a fraudulent document with the county recorder, providing false information to a lender to obtain a mortgage loan and two counts of grand theft. Additionally, Papadopoulos faces a sixth count of deed-of-trust fraud.

Read the Full Article in the Modesto Bee.

Borrower Sues Wells Fargo for Fraud, Wins Damages

August 17th, 2008 at 11:38am

Wells Fargo Bank N.A. was order to pay Kimberly Thomas, a Silver Spring woman who defaulted on a subprime loan doctored by one of its loan offices, has been awarded $1.25 million in damages. The jury made the award based on a complaint of fraud, negligence and for inflating Thomas’ assets without her knowledge.

Read the Full Article in the Washington Business Journal.

FBI Arrests Ringleader for Massive Mortgage Fraud

August 14th, 2008 at 4:55pm

The FBI arrested a Stockton man on suspicion of mortgage fraud in a case involving more than 100 houses he bought and sold in the past 10 years with the assistance of loan officers and escrow officers with whom he conspired.

Investigators say Ifthikhar Ahmad, 36, worked with Deborah Timmins, 49, formerly of Chicago Title and later with Commonwealth Land Title; Timmins’ twin sister, Denise James; William Bridge, 40, a mortgage broker doing business as The Loan Center in San Francisco; and John Ngo,  a senior loan coordinator with Long Beach Mortgage who approved many of Ahmad’s loans, according to the FBI report. Long Beach Mortgage was a subprime lending arm of Washington Mutual and has been the news for loan fraud by its loan officers.

Read the Full Article.

1031 Exchange Fraud Alleged in San Jose

August 8th, 2008 at 7:37pm

A San Jose-based company that specialized in assisting real estate investors defer paying capital gains taxes by utilizing 1031 exchanges is under investigation and its officers under a cloud of scrutiny by the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office.

The offices of Vesta Strategies and the homes of Chicago businessmen John Terzakis and Robert Estupinian were searched and both are no accusing each other of embezzling $4.5 million from the company and its clients, who are unlikely to recover any of their money.

Read the Full Article in the San Jose Mercury News.

Countrywide Analyst Arrested for Stealing Customer Database

August 5th, 2008 at 7:34pm

Countrywide Home Loans has new troubles, as a senior financial analyst was arrested by the FBI and charged with downloading and selling customer data to an unauthorized party.

Rene L. Rebollo Jr., 36, a Pasadena resident, was arrested at his home and Wahid Siddiqi, 25, of Thousand Oaks was also arrested by both the FBI and the Simi Valley Police Department for having purchased the stolen customer files.

In a page from the book “How to Steal from Your Employer and Assure Getting Caught”, although Rebollos worked Monday through Friday, he would go to Countrywide offices and access the databases for about an hour on Sundays.

Read the Full Article in the Ventura County Star by Jenni Mintz.

© 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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