California Real Estate Fraud Report

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Archive for July, 2016

Elderly Thousand Oaks California Couple Face Eviction after Being Scammed by Grandson

July 29th, 2016 at 11:25am

Hank Kawecki and Helen Kawecki are about to be evicted from their home of 56 years.

Chadd Moore, their grandson, offered to “help” his grandparents two years ago when they needed a loan. He proposed they put their house in his name while he supported them financially for the rest of their lives.

Moore then mortgaged the property and defaulted on the almost $500,000 he took out on three loans. He purportedly spent all the money in Las Vegas.

Neighbor Doug Emerson has been helping the Kaweckis and has started a GoFundMe page to pay for legal fees to fight the eviction, which has been stayed for 60 days by a judge.

Read the original article in the New York Daily News.

Santa Ana Man Receives Prison Sentence For Mortgage Fraud

July 29th, 2016 at 10:56am

Aria Maleki, 33 years old, a Santa Ana resident, has been sentenced to nine years in prison after pleading guilty in a Bridgeport, Connecticut federal court to a mortgage loan modification scheme that defrauded homeowners across the country.

Connecticut U.S. Attorney Deirdre Daly said that Maleki and other persons ran a series of California-based companies that promised home mortgage loan modifications and other debt relief services and charged them upfront fees ranging from approximately $2,500 to $4,300.  Charging advance fees is illegal for these services in California.

Read the original article in MortgageOrb.

Aliso Viejo Man Pleads Guilty in Mortgage Modification Fraud

July 28th, 2016 at 5:33am

Aliso Viejo resident Charles Wayne Farris, 55, has pleaded guilty to federal fraud charges for his role as a sales manager in a mortgage modification fraud case that cost 1,500 people almost $9 million.

Farris’  co-conspirator, former attorney Ronald Rodis, had  previously pleaded guilty to a felony conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud. A third defendant, Bryan D’Antonio, still awaits his turn at trial for nine counts of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

According to prosecutors, both Rodis Law Group and America’s Law Group used nationwide radio advertisements to portray themselves as a team of experienced attorneys that could negotiated lower-interests rates or principal balances.

“The defendants in this case preyed upon vulnerable homeowners facing the loss of their home and callously took advantage of what hope they had left,” said Deirdre L. Fike, assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office, in a statement last week.

Read the original article in the OC Register.

Couple Running Mortgage Rescue and Student Loan Relief Companies Must Forfeit Millions, Says Judge

July 28th, 2016 at 5:19am

LOS ANGELES — A federal judge granted default judgment against two married recidivists in Los Angeles who ran half a dozen phony debt relief businesses, including mortgage rescue, and ordered them to disgorge $2.3 million and other frozen assets.

The Federal Trade Commission settled with Tobias West and Komal West and their companies in May. The July 12 order from U.S. District Judge Otis Wright also bars the Wests and their companies from “representing the benefits or performance of a product or service unless it is not misleading and based on evidence,” and prohibits them from “profiting from consumers’ personal information and failing to dispose of it properly.”

The Wests and their companies, including Good EBusiness, Student Loan Help Direct, Select Student Loan, Select Student Loan Help, and Select Document Preparation charged up to $5,000 a pop for bogus student and home loan relief services, the FTC said in its sealed complaint in February. It said the Komals violated federal laws by “preying on financially struggling consumers and promising to make their mortgage or student loan payments substantially lower by renegotiating with their lender — but without ever having any intention of actually doing so.” the FTC claimed.

If they did bother to do anything, the Wests and their companies often posed as their clients and entered into forbearance deals with lenders, without telling the clients they did so, or that they would be on the hook for interest payments that for many clients totaled thousands of dollars, according to the FTC.

Read the entire article in Courthouse News and the Federal Trade Commission.


Protesters March to Doorsteps of Real Estate Firm to Save ‘Thug Mansion’

July 27th, 2016 at 8:23am

Protesters hoping to help save an elderly woman’s home blocked off the entrance to Vanguard Properties at 21st and Mission streets on July 16. The home, located at 117 Ripley Street in Bernal Heights, is the subject of a sale an eviction by one of Vanguards real estate agents.

The protesters accused real estate agent Shelley Trew of “fraud, elder abuse, and greed” for coercing the 76-year-old owner of the house  into signing over the rights to her family home in 2013. According to and article in  Mission Local, “The elderly woman, they said, signed the contract after Trew offered to help her ‘find out how much her house is worth,’ but was unaware that its stipulations included the sale and evictions of herself and some nine tenants.”



How to Commit $1.3 Billion in Fraud . . . and Get Away with It

July 27th, 2016 at 5:50am

To My Readers (consumers, law enforcement and Realtors):

This article explains why Americans are so cynical and angry. It’s a commentary by Michael Hiltzik of the Los Angeles Times on how Bank of America wiggled out of a $1.3 judgment, not based on the law but a “technicality.”

As Hiltzik implies, the ruling by New York Appeals Court Judges Richard C. WesleyReena Raggi and Christopher F. Droney create a new standard of bank fraud so artful that it sets a new standard and blueprint for future cheating by banks.

Not only are banks now too big to criminally prosecute, they are too big to civilly prosecute for cheating investors and taxpayers.


Five Year-Old Investigation Results in Six Arrests in Stanislaus County

July 22nd, 2016 at 5:23am

An investigation in Stanislaus County that started five years by state and federal authorities has resulted in the arrests of six people charged in a mortgage fraud scheme that spanned the state of California.

San Bernardino County residents Jacob Orona and Aide Orona, the alleged masterminds, face 90-year prison terms if convicted.

The scheme was discovered in 2011 by investigators with the Stanislaus County District Attorney Office’s real estate fraud unit by District Attorney’s Office investigator Glenn Gulley. Gulley found that Blas Arreola and Nancy Arreola of Turlock tried to prevent foreclosure of their home and a rental home they owned by filing false documents with the county recorder. Another Arreloa used the same strategy with their home in the area and a second one in Half Moon Bay. From there, the investigation became statewide.

Others arrested were John Contreras, Prakashumar Bhakta, Marcus Robinson and David Boyd, all believed to live in Southern California. All six were indicted by a grand jury on a combined 135 felony charges including grand theft, conspiracy, filing forged documents and identity theft.

Read the original article in the Modesto Bee.


Aliso Viejo Man Pleads Guilty in Scheme to Rip Off Struggling Homeowners

July 22nd, 2016 at 5:07am

The U.S. Department of Justice announced that Orange County, California, resident Charles Wayne Farris has pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Santa Ana, California, for his role as the sales manager of a multi-million dollar fraudulent mortgage modification scheme.

Farris, 55, of Aliso Viejo, California, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Court Judge David O. Carter for the Central District of California to one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud for his crimes, which occurred between October 2008 and June 2009.

Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Benjamin C. Mizer, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division, said “This defendant supervised dozens of telemarketers who used lies and false promises to take money from struggling homeowners for a worthless service. We will continue to prosecute all kinds of mass-marketing and telemarketing fraud schemes, especially those that prey on vulnerable victims.”

Added U.S. Attorney Eileen Decker of the Central District of California, “This defendant managed an entire team of people whose sole job was to lure struggling home owners into the fraud scheme. It is because of Mr. Farris that so many people were victimized for so much money.”

Farris acknowledged that he participated in a scheme that sought to convince homeowners to pay between $3,500 and $5,500 for the services of the Rodis Law Group (RLG) and a successor entity, America’s Law Group (ALG).  RLG and ALG

Fannie Mae Warns about a New Type of Occupancy Fraud: Fake Investors

July 22nd, 2016 at 4:56am

Lenders report they are seeing more attempts at reverse occupancy mortgage fraud, which occurs when borrowers pretend that their primary residences are investment properties. This is typical especially with multiplex units, such as duplexes, in which the borrower claims to have all the units already rented but intends to live in one of them.

Last January, Fannie Mae warned lenders to watch for this scheme, under which the first-time buyer has a large cash down-payment but usually low income and little or no credit.

Read the original article in National Mortgage News.

California Attorney General Issues Fraud Alert on Rental, Moving Scams

July 6th, 2016 at 1:33pm

California Attorney General Kamala Harris has issued a press release warning consumers of rental and moving scams. The press release includes not only tips and cautions but also resources so that you can protect yourself.


© 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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