California Real Estate Fraud Report

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Archive for May, 2016

Beware: Defective Termite Inspections are Biting Home Buyers

May 27th, 2016 at 11:09am

If you are considering purchasing a home, my article about termite inspections on LinkedIn is a must-read.

Don’t get burned!

The Hustle Continues: Why the Feds Haven’t Nailed the Big Banks

May 26th, 2016 at 10:54am

For an excellent analysis of the history of the “Hustle” program at Countrywide / BofA and what went wrong, I recommend you read David Dayen‘s article in the New Republic.

BofA $1.3 Billion ‘Hustle’ Judgment Tossed by Appeals Court

May 26th, 2016 at 10:47am

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara suffered a stunning loss as the Second Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a jury’s finding that a unit of Bank of America committed fraud by selling lower-quality mortgages on government-sponsored Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to investors.

The upshot of Bush appointee Circuit Court Judge Richard Wesley‘s ruling is that the 2013 jury verdict holding BofA liable and the imposition of a $1.27 billion penalty has been tossed. So has the $1 million penalty against BofA  executive Rebecca Mairone, who oversaw the creation of the “Hustle” program, which sped up loan processing. Bharara had alleged that the “Hustle,” an acronym for the “High Speed Swim Lane” program, had been generated by Countrywide out of defective loans that were re-sold to unwitting investors.

The reasoning of both the judge and the defense attorneys was that the government had at most proved breach of contract and not fraud.

The case is U.S. v. Countrywide Home Loans Inc., 15-496, U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit (New York).

Read the original articles in Bloomberg and the New York Post.

Two Men Plead Guilty to Defrauding Lenders of $33.6 Million in Novel Scheme

May 20th, 2016 at 10:14am

Coronado businessman Courtland Gettel and Arizona attorney Jeffrey Greenberg have pleaded guilty to raking in over $33.6 million by taking out fraudulent loans on expensive homes in Del Mar and La Jolla, according to federal prosecutors.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s office in San Diego, Gettel, 42, and Greenberg, 66,  took out loans against as many as eight homes by then pretending previous loans had been paid off in order to secure more loans from new lenders. The new lenders were tricked by forged loan reconveyances that indicated that the homes were lien-free and then recorded the fraudulent documents  at the San Diego County Recorder’s Office (title fraud).  Because title was clouded as a result, when the men defaulted on the loans, there was confusion as to the secured interests of the lenders in the properties.

The names of the firms run by Courtland Gettel were Conix, Inc. and Variant Commercial Real Estate — VCRE.

Read the original article in the Coronado Patch.

 

 

 

San Joaquin Real Estate Agent Arrested for Elder Abuse

May 12th, 2016 at 10:51am

Geana Or, a real estate agent from Lathrop, in San Joaquin County, has been arrested on suspicion of grand theft and elder abuse. Or, 46, who also uses the name Geana Lay.

Or / Lay will face prosecution in Santa Clara County by the Real Estate Fraud Unit with the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office.

Investigators found out about the alleged fraud after a 73-year-old Los Altos Hills resident reported that he was approached by his real-estate agent last year and proposed that he purchase two homes that were “supposedly approaching foreclosure” with the intent of flipping them for higher value in the future. Between January and March 2015, the agent, since identified as Or, convinced him to write 10 cashier’s checks in her name, totaling about $475,000.

Read the original article in Mercury News.

Mortgage Broker Pleads Guilty in Foreclosure Fraud Case

May 12th, 2016 at 10:38am

Ventura County District Attorney Gregory D. Totten announced that Gregoria Mendoza, a former mortgage broker, has pleaded guilty to multiple counts of felony grand theft and foreclosure consultant fraud.

Prosecutors said that Mendoza, 60, created six separate real estate investment schemes and stole about $470,000 from victims in Ventura, Los Angeles and Tulare counties. She had told the victims their money would be invested in real estate projects but instead she spent the money on herself.

Mendoza also illegally charged one of the victims upfront/advance fees for a mortgage loan modification.

Read the original article in the Ventura County Star.

Assistant Coach Bandit’ Faces New Charges in Loan Modification Fraud

May 6th, 2016 at 5:01am

Former youth coach James Allen Ramsdell, 51, has been arrested on suspicion of several fraud charges, including a felony count of grand theft by false pretense, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office said.

Prosecutors allege that Ramsdell, a Huntington Beach resident, offered to provide loan-modification services for a woman who had received a notice of default on her mortgage from her bank. Ramsdell took an upfront fee and cashed several checks totaling $10,000 from the woman, according to prosecutors, but did not perform any services. The woman subsequently submitted a fraud report to the Orange District Attorney’s Office.

In 2009, Ramsdell, who worked as a sub-prime mortgage broker while also coaching youth baseball and soccer,  pleaded guilty to robbing banks in Anaheim, Costa Mesa, Huntingon Beach and San Diego County. FBI officials referred to him as the “Assistant Coach Bandit.”

Read the original article in the Orange County Register.

© 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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