California Real Estate Fraud Report

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Archive for December, 2010

Real Estate Fraud Murder Trial of Attorney David Replogle Goes to Jury

December 26th, 2010 at 2:39pm

The case of San Francisco attorney David Replogle, who is accused of murder in a conspiracy worth a Hollywood movie, is now in the hands of the jury. Co-defendant Miguel Bustamante, 28, accused along Replogle of participating in the murder of Palm Springs retiree Clifford Lambert, awaits the decision of the jury as well.

San Francisco Deputy District Attorney Lisa DiMaria painted David Replogle, 61, as the mastermind in the conspiracy to “erase” Lambert, 74, who was a target because he lived alone, owned his home and other assets such as art. Craig McCarthy, who has already been convicted for his part in murdering Clifford Lambert, whose body has never been found. Along With McCarthy, Miguel Bustamente is accused of holding and stabbing Lambert on December 8, 2008. David Replogle allegedly arranged the deed and helped falsify documents in order to profit from the victim’s assets.

Still to be tried are Kaushal Niroula, David Replogle’s (former) lover and Daniel Carlos Garcia.

David Replogle could receive life in prison without the possibility of parole if he is convicted.

Read another angle to this story in an earlier posting in the California Real Estate Fraud Report.

Read more about this heinous crime in the Palm Springs Desert Sun , the Southwest Riverside News Network and SFWeekly.

Two Sisters Accused of Real Estate Fraud in Lawsuit

December 23rd, 2010 at 1:38pm

Pacific Grove real estate company Estates on the Bay Inc. and sisters Susana Silva and Deanna Gobert are being accused by an elderly resident of falsifying his loan applications, resulting in the loss of the man’s residence.

The lawsuit is seeking a permanent injunction, civil penalties and restitution for consumers. It contends that although Susan Silva’s real estate broker’s license was revoked by the California Department of Real Estate (DRE) in 2004, she was involved with soliciting clients, negotiating loans and preparing loan applications.

Read the full article in the Monterey County Herald.

W. Covina Woman Pleads Guilty to Real Estate Ponzi Scheme

December 23rd, 2010 at 1:27pm

Guadalupe Valencia, 46, has pleaded guilty to two counts (each) of mail fraud, wire fraud and tax fraud according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Valencia purportedly stole almost $7 million from 150 victims by running a real estate investment fraud that was nothing more than a Ponzi scheme. She told investors that their money was full secured with deeds of trust and even issued promissory notes. The profits she promised – which should have raised red flags to any investor – were 8-20% in 45 days.

Valencia’s companies were in Downey and called Real Estate & Loan Consultants and R.E. Equity Group, Inc.

Read the full article in the Pasadena Star News.

Victorville One of Nation’s Top Risks for Mortgage Fraud

December 23rd, 2010 at 1:20pm

Victorville’s zip code of 92394 has shown up as the highest risk for mortgage fraud in California in a ranking by mortgage fraud detection firm Interthinx. Topping the California charts at 412, Victorville is followed by Hesperia (316), Oak Hills (303), Apple Valley (288), Adelanto (270) and Phelan (256).

California has the third highest risk in the nation for mortgage fraud. Nevada is first, followed by Arizona.

Read the full article in the Victorville Daily Press.

BBB Issues Warning about National Church Consultant of America

December 23rd, 2010 at 1:10pm

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is warning consumers that even though charging upfront fees for loan modification assistance is illegal since Senate Bill 94 (SB 94) was passed last year, there are still businesses doing so.

Gary Almond, CEO of the Northeast Better Business Bureau located in West Sacramento, said that complaints have come in to their service regarding Andrews Investment Group, which also operates as National Church Consultant of America. Andrews Investment Group is owned by Rodney Andrews; Andrews is neither an attorney, nor a real estate broker, which is required if he wants to charge the $700 to $7,000 that complaints against him accuse him of charging.

Andrews Investment Group and National Church Consultant of America have received an “F” rating from the Better Business Bureau, according to an article in the Sacramento Bee.

Fourth Guilty Plea in Sacramento Mortgage Fraud

December 23rd, 2010 at 12:52pm

Melissa Villegas, 31, a former loan officer at Landmark Realty Co., has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud in which she and her former husband, Rick Villegas, 33, knowingly submitted fraudulent loan applications from straw buyers. They did this to help Robert Martinson, 48, unload properties he had purchased under an LLC. Robert Martinson owned and operated a branch of MAC Real Estate Services in North Highlands out of a gym, using his wife’s name and license.

Rick Villegas and Robert Martinson have both already pleaded guilty to mail fraud. Kathleen DeLapp, 47, who was a loan processor for MAC Real Estate Services and an account executive for Aegis Mortgage, pleaded guilty to misprision, or concealing knowledge.

The case resulted from a joint investigation by the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation; the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the California Department of Real Estate (DRE).

Read the full article in the Sacramento Bee.

Wells Fargo to Provide $2 Billion of Loan Modifications

December 20th, 2010 at 12:54pm

In one of his final acts as California Attorney General before taking office as California’s next governor, Jerry Brown has announced that Wells Fargo will be extending loan modifications worth up to $2 billion to borrowers to whom it underwrote “pick-a-pay” loans. In addition, Wells Fargo has agreed to pay another $32 million to borrowers on whom it foreclosed.

The settlement includes loans made by Wachovia Bank and World Savings Bank, both of which were acquired by Wells Fargo.

Approximately 14,900 Californians borrowed money under the pick-a-pay program.

Read the press release issued by the Office of the California State General.

Michael Monaco’s Investors Finance Inc. Offices Raided by FBI

December 17th, 2010 at 2:49pm

After several years of complaints, according to one frustrated investor, the FBI has raided the Rancho Bernardo offices of Investors Finance, Inc., owned by Michael Monaco. Investors Finance, Inc. purported to provide assistance to homeowners who were behind in their mortgages, charging them about $1,400 but allegedly failing to do so.

According to previous reports in the San Diego Tribune, Michael Monaco has had prior civil judgments for breach of contract and fraud lawsuits and as a result has been ordered to pay millions.

There is also an earlier article in the California Real Estate Fraud Report about Investors Finance, Inc. and Michael Monaco.

Read the full article in the San Diego Union Tribune.

Family of 3 Under Arrest for Mortgage Fraud

December 17th, 2010 at 2:29pm

Maria Quijada Ramirez, 54, was arrested December 8 under an arrest warrant having to do with an alleged $4.1 million mortgage fraud. Her husband Augustine Ramirez has already been arrested for allegedly acting as a straw buyer. He purchased five homes, stating on the loan application each time that he planned to live on the property.

Guadalupe Ramirez, the daughter of Maria Ramirez and Augustine Ramirez, is a real estate agent. She and her father are accused of getting kickbacks from the sellers of the properties and obtaining inflated appraisals on the homes Augustine was purchasing.

Deputy District Attorney Gordon Isen is the head of the Kern County D.A.’s Mortgage Fraud Unit.

Read the full article in the Bakersfield Californian.

Sherman Oaks Siblings Surrender in Loan Fraud

December 7th, 2010 at 9:06pm

Local residents and siblings Monica Elizabeth Frommer and Peter Jerald Frommer have surrendered to federal authorities in a $14 million loan fraud case. Ms. Frommer, 33, received an indictment on 12 charges by a federal grand jury while her brother, Peter Jerald Frommer, 35, surrendered for federal fraud and tax charges.

The charges against the Frommers are unrelated. Monica Frommer’s indictment originated from the roughly $2 million she received by filing “at least six fraudulent mortgage loan applications to National City Bank and Washington Mutual Bank”, according to the Department of Justice.

Her brother Peter Frommer pleaded guilty in a Ponzi scheme in which he is said to have raised at least $12 million from his victims. He is awaiting sentencing in March 2011 by US District Judge George H. Wu and could receive 33 years in federal prison.

You can search for an earlier article on Monica Frommer in the California Real Estate Fraud Report.

Read the full story in the Canyon News.

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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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