California Real Estate Fraud Report

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Archive for June, 2011

Santa Clara DA Throw the Books at Foreclosure Consultants

June 30th, 2011 at 11:47am

If you’re a criminal engaged in loan modification fraud, don’t do it in Santa Clara County. The Santa Clara District Attorney’s Office will make you pay dearly for scamming people.

Amir Rashidifar, 28, and Mary Margaret Delvecchio, 30, have been convicted of two felony counts of Foreclosure Consultant Fraud. The pair were each sentenced to three years, eight months in prison and order to pay restitution of $312,450 to their 80 victims.

Rashidifar and Delvecchio operated Legal Support Services until complaints by former employees and victims were reported to and investigated by the San Jose Police Department. They were charging upfront fees of $3,100 to help people but providing no services. According to Civil Code Section 2945.4(g), they were practicing Foreclosure Consultant Fraud (loan modification fraud).

Read the press release by the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office.

BofA Settles Securities Lawsuits for $8.5 Billion

June 29th, 2011 at 12:56pm

In a possible sign of times to come, Bank of America Corp. announced today that it is settling a score of lawsuits from institutional investors for $8.5 billion.

The litigation, which included plaintiffs BlackRock Financial Management, Pacific Investment Management Co. and Western Asset Management, are related to the toxic mortgage-backed securities (MBS) that they purchased from defunct lender Countrywide.

Bank of America Chief Executive Officer Brian Moynihan released this statement:

“This is another important step we are taking in the interest of our shareholders to minimize the impact of future economic uncertainty and put legacy issues behind us. We will continue to act aggressively, and in the best interest of our shareholders, to clean up the mortgage issues largely stemming from our purchase of Countrywide.”

The settlement is the largest thus far from the fall-out of lenders packaging subprime mortgages into securities and selling them to mortgage bond investors without disclosing the quality, or lack of quality, of the loans. It could also pressure other mega-banks, such as JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo, to settle up lawsuits failed against them by other investors.

Read the original article by MSNBC.

Realtors Accuse Banks of Short Sale Fraud

June 24th, 2011 at 8:25am

Short sale fraud has quickly become the real estate fraud du jour. Usually it is committed by property owners who want a write-down of their mortgage and it is facilitated by crooked real estate agents. No matter what the motivation, any party to this transaction is committing short sale fraud.

Now, according to Jeremy Brandt, CEO of 1800CashOffer, the banks are jumping in, allegedly in some cases demanding kick-backs of cash outside the sale. This is a clear violation of the federal RESPA (Real Estate Settlement Practices Act) law. Anyone who is caught could be prosecuted, which could result in prison time for all parties, stiff financial penalties and the revocation of professional licenses.

Brandt and Kayte Gentry of Keller Williams Integrity First Realty are telling stories of second lien holders demanding cash outside of escrow in order to release their liens, in which normally they are paid perhaps 10 cents on the dollar. Brandt says he has spoken with dozens of real estate agents across the country who have complained that banks holding these junior loans are threatening to kill the transaction unless paid under the table, i.e., the money is not declared on the HUD-1. All but except Gentry are afraid to speak up for fear of retribution from the banks.

Fingers have been pointed at JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America and CitiBank. JP Morgan Chase issued a “no comment” response (is that like taking the 5th Amendment against self-incrimination?) and BofA and CitiBank issued denials.

If the accusations are true, the banks are adding short sale fraud to the list of crimes they are committing against taxpayers and communities.

If you know of any instances of short sale fraud, please contact me by email. Your response will be kept entirely confidential.

Watch the video of the CNBC investigation here.

Another Inspector Fired by L.A. Dept. of Building & Safety

June 23rd, 2011 at 12:20pm

A third long-time employee of the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety has been fired after it was determined that he, along with the two prior fired inspectors, had been taking bribes for approving work by contractors.

Albert Acosta, 54, a 27-year employee who earned more than $83,000 annually, was fired for soliciting bribes according to department spokesman David Lara.

Thus far, the corruption probe into the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety has resulted in Hugo Gonzalez, 49, of Eagle Rock and Raoul Germain, 60 of Altadena being fired after pleading guilty to charges of taking bribes. Samuel In, a code enforcement inspector in the department’s Koreatown office, retired after being placed on leave after complaints were made about bribe demands from him. And Frank Rojas, who was in the department’s West Los Angeles office, also quit after being placed on leave.

Robert “Bud” Ovrom, the top executive for the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety, has announced that the investigation by the FBI as well as the internal investigation has now been turned to supervisors at Building and Safety.

Read the original article in the Los Angeles Times.

David Tikal Fails to Get Mortgage Fraud Charges Tossed

June 22nd, 2011 at 8:43am

A Las Vegas man with an extensive criminal history failed to get some of the charges against him thrown out by the judge in an Alameda County Superior Court.

David Alan Tikal has been charged with 29 counts related to mortgage fraud. His alleged victims accuse Tikal of promising to refinance their homes at a 75 percent discount. He has prior convictions in five states for disorderly conduct, theft and other felonies.

Tikal’s attorney Fanya Young has failed to get her client’s $780,000 bail reduced and her demurrer to eight of the charges was denied. Judge Carrie Panetta believes his bail money was earned from the alleged mortgage fraud.

Read the original article in ABC 7 News.

JPMorgan Chase Settles Securities Fraud Case for $153.6m

June 21st, 2011 at 2:14pm

The securities division of financial giant JPMorgan Chase & Co. has agreed to pay out $153.6 million to compensate investor groups that lost large sums of money due to the hedge fund Magnetar Capital betting against the securities portfolio that it had convinced the investors to purchase.

The investor groups that lost big due to the omission. Unlike Chase, investment firm Goldman Sachs Capital Partners (GSCP) and its team leader Edward Steffelin, Magnetar was not charged by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which led the investigation. SEC enforcement chief Robert Khuzami said Magnetar “was not responsible for those disclosures to investors.” Maybe not legally, but certainly ethically.

“The victim investor groups are Minneapolis-based Thrivent Financial for Lutherans; Security Benefit Corp., an insurance and retirement services company based in Topeka, Kansas; General Motors Asset Management, which manages the automaker’s pension plans for GM workers. Also taken in were Tokyo Star Bank, Far Glory Life Insurance Co. Ltd., Taiwan Life Insurance Co. Ltd. and East Asia Asset Management Ltd.

Goldman Sachs Capital Partners paid $550 million last year for its role in misleading the investors.

The SEC’s complaint against Edward Steffelin can be read here.

Read the original article in the New York Times.

Fairfield Man Charged with Mortgage Fraud

June 17th, 2011 at 9:53am

Alonzo Jackson Brown III, 44, has been indicted by a federal grand jury on nine counts of mortgage fraud.

The Fairfield real estate broker is alleged to have purchased properties using the identities of his friends. The losses to the banks from the fraud amount to $1.5 million or more.

Alonzo Brown still has a valid broker’s license according to the DRE.

Read the original article in the Sacramento Bee.

Phony Bishop Goes to Prison for Stealing Elderly Woman’s Home

June 17th, 2011 at 6:18am

A self-appointed Bishop from the former Triumph Church of God is on the way to prison after the Claremont Police Department caught him swindling an elderly stroke victim out of her home (elder financial fraud, elder financial abuse).

Leroy Dowd, 74, received the 3 year sentence plus an order to make full restitution after convincing the 89-year old Claremont woman to sign over to him the grant deed to her home in 2006, which had been paid off. Dowd then sold the home to straw buyer Bessie Mae Moore, 63, who took out a loan with MortgageIt (loan fraud, mortgage fraud). Moore got off easy, with a sentence of only 98 days.

The grant deeds Leroy Dowd received have been declared “null and void” by the Pomona Superior Court judge who heard the case. Los Angeles County Tax Assessor’s fraud investigation unit also restored the assessed value of the home to the victim.

Read the original article in the Downey Patriot.

Man Forges Document to Save Home

June 15th, 2011 at 10:44pm

In a novel form of real estate fraud, 45-year old Marc Uribe tried to save his home from foreclosure but he went about it in the wrong way: he forged document.

Uribe, of San Diego, fashioned a temporary restraining order that would have prevented his lender from seizing his home. The name of the judge on the document was real but signed by Uribe.

Uribe could receive a fine of $250,000 and a prison term, all of which he’ll find out when he is sentenced September 9.

Read the original article in the Los Angeles Times.

Two Men Get Prison for Loan Modification Fraud

June 14th, 2011 at 7:50am

Two men have received prison sentences after they admitted they operated a national business that was little more than a loan modification scam.

Michael Trap has been sentenced to 30 months in federal prison. His business partner Glenn Steven Rosofsky received a sentence of 63 months.

Trap and Rosofsky set up a nationwide telemarketing operation under the names of “Nations Housing Modification Center” and “Federal Housing Modification Department”.  Using the claims of having attorneys and forensic accountants (some con-artists call them “forensic loan auditors”) to find errors in the loans of borrowers in default, the two claimed a high success rate in obtaining loan modifications. They are thought to have made $900,000 from their scam.

There are two earlier postings on the California Real Estate Fraud Report about Michael Trap and Glenn Steven Rosofsky. Read about them here and here.

Read the original article in KGTV 10 News.

© 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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