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Archive for December, 2013

Realtor Hanky-Panky in New Jersey

December 23rd, 2013 at 7:17pm

A lawsuit by a married couple accuses a Realtor of intentionally overpricing the couple’s home in New Jersey so that buyers would be dissuaded, leaving the home available for his sexual trysts with another Realtor.

Former Coldwell Banker Realtors Robert Lindsay and Jeannemarie Phelan have been sued by Richard and Sandra Weiner of Denville, New Jersey. The Weiners allege  breach of trust and fiduciary duties against  Lindsay, a former president of the Passaic County Board of Realtors, and Phelan, as well as Coldwell Banker of Madison. The Weiners’ security video cameras allegedly caught the agents having sex on the Weiners’ bed at least 10 times.

“Defendants Coldwell and Lindsay were engaged by the Weiners to market and sell their home in Wayne, New Jersey. Instead, Lindsay and Phelan, through Lindsay’s illegal and dishonest acts, used the Weiners’ home as their play pad to have sexual relations in the Weiners’ bedroom, among other places in the home,” the suit states.

The lawsuit accuses Robert Lindsay of making a duplicate key to the house and that he “intentionally listed the house above market value to avoid Realtor traffic in the home while he and Phelan carried on their trysts.”

The Weiners are seeking compensatory damages for invasion of privacy, infliction of emotional distress, breach of contract, trespass of land and other civil counts.

The New Jersey Real Estate Commission is also investigating the Weiners’ accusations.

Coldwell Banker ended its contractual relationship with Lindsay and Phelan upon learning of the situation.


Read the original article in

Ocwen Employee and Contractor Get Prison for Bribery for REO Contracts

December 20th, 2013 at 10:27am

Publisher’s Note: This crime is very common, but rarely addressed by either the banks or law enforcement. In this case, though, the bad guys actually were caught and prosecuted.

Ronald Hurst, a former contractors, must serve two years in prison for conspiring to commit bribery and wire fraud from January 2006 until September 2007, according to the Department of Justice. His co-defendant, Bryant Carbonell, received six months of home confinement for his participation.

Both men were sentenced by Judge Philip Reinhard of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, where the indictments were originally filed.

Hurst and Carbonell had sub-contracts with West Palm Beach, Fla.-based Ocwen Loan Servicing, which managed foreclosed homes under its own contract with the Veterans Administration.

Court documents showed that they paid kickbacks to Ryan Piana, a former residential sales manager at Ocwen, to direct housing maintenance work to companies with which they had relationships. Piana additionally paid other Ocwen employees to participate, again, according to court documents. All are forms of REO fraud.

Ryan Piana was also indicted, ultimately pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 24 months in prison, according to a US DOJ press release.  Judge Reinhard also ordered Piana to re-pay $147,825 to the Veteran’s Administration and the Veterans Affairs Mortgage Guarantee Program, which were the victims of their crimes.

This case is the third prosecution involving Ocwen-managed properties.

No prosecutions for REO fraud in California – ever – to my knowledge.


Hard Money Lender Extradited from Panama for Embezelling, Ponzi Scheme

December 20th, 2013 at 10:12am

Thomas Franklin Tarbutton, 54, A fugitive hard money lender, was plucked by Panamanian authorities as he was trying to enter Costa Rica and extradited to Orange County.

The Orange County District Attorney’s Office had issued a $2 million for Tarbutton’s arrest after charges were filed against him for allegedly keeping money from his investors (title fraud). The investors had allegedly been provided forged property documents by Tarbutton and his company Villa Capital filed with the Orange County Clerk-Recorder Department showing that the investors were lien holders on property deeds, which they were not. Instead, authorities believe he kept their money for his personal use.

After being investigated by both the FBI and the OCDA, Thomas Tarbutton was charged with 29 felony counts, including grand theft and forgery. He was further charged with sentencing enhancements and allegations for loss over $100,000, property loss over $3.2 million, and aggravated white collar crime.

Read the original article in the OC Weekly.


Long Beach Man Sentenced for QuitClaim Fraud

December 17th, 2013 at 10:39am

A Long Beach man whose business model was to determine whether residential properties were vacant so that he could record false quitclaim deeds has been sentenced to four years.

Blair Christopher Hanloh, 50, who owned and operated Blair Hanloh Trustee of Diversified Management Trust (Diversified Management), was convicted in October 2013 of five felony counts of recording false and forged instruments.

Hanloh scouted properties from Orange County to Dana Point and if they were vacant or in foreclosure, he recorded the quitclaims to fraudulently transfer the ownership of the properties from the legal owners to Diversified Management (title fraud). He then changed the locks and rented the properties to unknowing victims-tenants.

“I would like to congratulate Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas and his department on a job well done. Our office has been working closely with the District Attorney’s Real Estate Fraud Unit to find ways to prevent these crimes from happening in the future,” said Orange County Clerk-Recorder Hugh Nguyen.

Senior Deputy District Attorney Pete Pierce of the Major Fraud Unit prosecuted this case.

Read the original article in the Orange County Breeze.


San Bernardino DA Looking for Victims in Alleged Loan Modification Fraud

December 17th, 2013 at 8:53am

According to an article in the Victorville Daily Press, the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s office has put the word out to locate possible victims of an alleged loan modification fraud.

The DA’s office served search warrants Wednesday on five separate locations in Orange and San Bernardino counties involving the Siringoringo Law Firm and Clausen & Cobb Management Co. Inc.

Attorney Stephen Siringoringo and his wife, Kendi Smith-Siringoringo, were arrested for possession of 445 grams of marijuana packaged for sales after the marijuana was found during the searches.

If you are a homeowner living in the county and believe you have been the victim of a loan modification scam carried out by the Siringoringo Law Firm, call the District Attorney’s office Real Estate Fraud Division at 909-891-3519.

Wells Fargo VP to be Prosecuted by US DOJ in $200 Million Mortgage Fraud

December 16th, 2013 at 10:15am

The United States Department of Justice has been given the green light to add Wells Fargo & Co Vice President Kurt Lofrano as a defendant in its lawsuit accusing the bank of mortgage fraud.

Manhattan U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman accepted the feds’ amended complaint to add Lofrano, which is almost a first (see below). The federal government has faced criticism from consumers, their attorneys and consumers’ rights groups of being afraid to criminally prosecute bank employees, in contrast to Iceland, where bankers have received prison sentences for committing fraud.

In this case, the U.S. DOJ is accusing the country’s top lender of misleading the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) into believing many of its loans qualified for federal insurance and were therefore safe. Instead, the losses suffered by taxpayers have reached into the hundreds of millions of dollars.

According to prosecutors, Lofrano played a “critical role” in Wells Fargo’s decision not to report to HUD more than 6,000 materially defective loans that the bank falsely certified for Federal Housing Administration insurance. Lofrano, who was the VP for Quality Control from 2002-2010, kept information that many of the loans were defective, causing HUD (= taxpayers) to pay out close to $200 million in insurance claims to cover the ineligible loans.

The federal government’s goal is to find Kurt Lofrano liable under the federal False Claims Act and the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act of 1989.

The only other bank official who has been prosecuted is Rebecca Mairone, a former mid-level executive at Bank of America Corp’s Countrywide unit. Both Marone and Countrwide were found liable by a Manhattan federal jury in October for selling defective home loans to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.


David Crisp to Enter Guilty Plea Today in U.S. District Court

December 16th, 2013 at 9:53am

David Crisp, the 34-year old alleged leader the massive Crisp & Cole mortgage fraud that rocked Bakersfield, has agreed to admit to one felony count of conspiracy to commit mail, wire and bank fraud. Crisp’s plea is scheduled to be entered today before U.S. District Court Judge Lawrence O’Neill and his sentence could be up to 30 years in federal prison along with a $1 million fine.

Crisp’s plea agreement is predicated on a guilty plea by Jennifer Anne Crisp, his wife, to one count each of mail fraud and wire fraud.

Less than two months ago, Crisp’s former business partner, Carl Cole, also pleaded guilty.

The mortgage fraud perpetrated by Crisp, Cole and another dozen or so of their relatives and co-workers cost lender over $20 million.

The sole remaining defendant is Julie Dianne Farmer, the Crisp & Cole’s former operations manager. She faces eight counts of mail fraud; four counts of wire fraud; one count of conspiracy to commit mail, wire and bank fraud; one count of conspiracy to launder money; and one count of bank fraud.

Read the original article in the Bakersfield Californian.


James Duncan Sentenced to 19 Years, Restitution for Orchestrating $142 Million Real Estate Fraud

December 16th, 2013 at 9:34am

James Duncan, who both masterminded the $142 million real estate and investment fraud that rocked Riverside County and who then cooperated with prosecutors to obtain convictions against his former colleagues, has had this plea-bargain sentence imposed.

Riverside County Superior Court Judge Michele Levine ordered Duncan to serve 19 years and eight months in state prison after accepting the recommendation of Chief Deputy District Attorney Vicki Hightower.

Duncan must also pay $3.4 million in restitution to 33 victims, who lived in several states.

James Duncan acted as a central witness in the trials of his former business partner Hendrix Montecastro and Montecastro’s mother Helen Pedrino in what prosecutors described was a massive Ponzi scheme. Montecastro and Pedrino have filed motions for new trials following their convictions.

Previous guilty pleas and sentences have been imposed on Maurice McLeod, a top associate, Charlie Sung Choi, Cindi Grace Kelly and Thuan Nhan Du.

Read the original article in the Press Enterprise.

Pakistani Natives Return to U.S. for Sentencing in Mortgage Fraud

December 16th, 2013 at 9:09am

A married couple that evaded prosecution for mortgage fraud voluntarily returned to the United States from their native Pakistan to face sentencing after pleading guilty to bank fraud.

Zahid Ali and Riffat Ali, formerly of San Jose, had been indicted by a federal grand jury in 1996.

The Alis had been accused of falsifying the loan application of a man to whom they sold their home, knowing that the man never would have otherwise qualified for a loan.

According to the indictment, the Alis scammed a bank out of nearly $439,000 by falsifying loan documents in order to sell their Bird Avenue residence to the unqualified buyer.

The straw buyer‘s application was submitted to a relative, Mujeebullah Mujahid Khan, who was a loan officer at Home Savings of America, the bank which was defraud. Khan pleaded guilty to bank fraud in 1997.

“They admitted that they knew that his income and assets would not qualify him for a loan if the loan application had contained a truthful explanation of his circumstances,” reads the FBI news release. “So they filled out a draft of the loan application that contained several falsehoods.”

Home Savings of America was bought by Great Western Savings, which was later acquired by Washington Mutual.

Read the original article in the San Jose Mercury News.


Deputies from L.A. County Sheriff Convicted of Mortgage Fraud

December 12th, 2013 at 1:19pm

Two Los Angeles County Sheriff deputies have been convicted of mortgage fraud in the Kansas City area.

According to the U.S. attorney’s office, James Arthur Nash Jr., 43,  and 37-year-old Arman Nshanian were found guilty of multiple felony charges, including conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

The two lawmen are from Corona, and were among nine defendants. Prosecutors said they were part of a mortgage fraud scheme that operated in Missouri and that each man had received $100,000 for their roles, which caused losses of almost $5 million to the lenders.

Read the original article in SFGate.

© 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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