California Real Estate Fraud Report

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Archive for November, 2017

Sister Sues Brother, Accuses Him of Fraud

November 30th, 2017 at 9:40am

Santa Cruz County resident Peggy Amaya filed a complaint Oct. 25 in Fresno County Superior Court against Robert M. Blackhurst and Does 1-10, alleging fraud and unjust enrichment.

Amaya purchased the property located at 37526 Ripple Lane in Squaw Valley. She made the purchase through her brother, Robert Blackhurst, because she was going through a divorce with a convicted felon. She alleges Blackhurst refused to transfer title back to her and that he took advantage of her trust in him as a family member.

Read the original article in the Northern California Record.

La Jolla Man Ordered to Repay Mortgage Insurance Firm, IRS in Mortgage Fraud Case

November 30th, 2017 at 9:22am

La Jolla resident Mehran Abazary, 66, has been ordered by U.S. District Court Judge John Houston to pay $313,981 to Fidelity National Title Group and the IRS a mortgage insurance firm and the Internal Revenue Service in terms of five years probation in a mortgage fraud case. He was not given any jail time.

Abazary is an Iranian immigrant, had been charged with tax evasion. He had reported he lost the home in a foreclosure, but after the sale of his home in La Jolla, transferred money to bank accounts held in the names of his relatives in Germany.

Adel Afkarian and Atef Afkarian, also Iranian immigrants, operated Better Mortgage Co. For their roles, the brothers were sentenced to federal prison and have since been released.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Emily Allen wrote Abazary made a $250,000 profit “through the fraudulent sale of his heavily underwater $2 million La Jolla home” by “working with a group of crooked real estate professionals.” She further said that Abazary “made it appear that the mortgage did not exist so that he could sell the home to an unsuspecting buyer and collect the purchase money without paying off his lender.”

Read the original article in the San Diego Community News.

Former Los Angeles Lakers Player Pleads Guilty in Short Sale Fraud

November 30th, 2017 at 9:03am

Sam Jacobson, a basketball player with three NBA teams, pleaded guilty to residential mortgage fraud in the short sale of his Apple Valley (Minnesota) home.

In an August 2016 complaint  filed by Dakota County, prosecutors accused Jacobson of persuading his lender, JPMorgan Chase, to agree to a short sale of his property in 2011. As part of the transaction, he and his girlfriend, Trace Quam, whom he later married, signed an affidavit that the same was arm’s length. This was not true, as Traci Quam was the purchaser.

After the short sale was approved, Traci Quam sold the house later in the year at a profit of $226,793.06, according to the criminal complaint. She used the proceeds to proceeds to purchase another house, also in Apple Valley.

The short sale fraud was uncovered when Jennifer Jacobson, Sam Jacobson’s ex-wife, reported it to Apple Valley police in 2013.

As part of his plea agreement, Jacobson has agreed to pay restitution to the bank. He and Trace are scheduled to be sentenced in January 2018.

Read the original article in the Minnesota Star Tribune.

Attorney-President of the Stanislaus County Bar Association Convicted in Short Sale Fraud Case

November 17th, 2017 at 9:15am

It is rare in California to see prosecutions for short sale fraud in California. This case was prosecuted successfully, with a quick conviction from the jury, after a novel defense by the defendant’s attorneys.

The following is a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of California:

FRESNO, Calif. — Robert Farrace, 53, of Modesto, was convicted today of three counts of wire fraud in connection with a fraudulent short-sale scheme, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.

According to court documents, Farrace, an attorney specializing in real estate law and the current President of the Stanislaus County Bar Association, owned two properties in Modesto with substantial mortgage loans. By early 2010, Farrace was in default and received foreclosure notices for the two properties. In order to keep the properties and avoid foreclosure, Farrace formed an entity called “Dignitas LLC” to purchase the properties. Farrace controlled Dignitas, but listed a friend’s name on the paperwork as a nominal manager because he knew the bank would not sell the property to a related party. Farrace then submitted short sale offers to the bank that serviced the loans on both properties listing Dignitas and the nominee manager as the purchaser. Farrace misrepresented his relationship to Dignitas to induce the bank to approve the short sale. Because the servicing bank did not know of the true relationship, it went forward and completed one of the short sales. The short sale on the second party was stopped after law enforcement informed the bank of Farrace’s scheme.

This case is the product of an investigation by the Federal Housing Finance Agency–Office of Inspector General, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Stanislaus County District Attorney’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael G. Tierney and Shelley D. Weger are prosecuting the case.

Farrace is scheduled to be sentenced on February 12, 2018, by U.S. District Judge Lawrence J. O’Neill. Farrace faces a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.

You can read more details about this case in the Modesto Bee.



Newport Beach Man Gets 34 Years in Real Estate Fraud

November 16th, 2017 at 8:55am

Thomas Tarbutton was extradited to the U.S. in 2013 following his detention in Panama as he attempted to fly from Brazil, where he was living, to Costa Rica.

Fifty-eight-year-old Thomas Tarbutton has been sentenced to over 34 years in prison after being convicted last year for stealing approximately $3 million.

Tarbutton, of Newport Beach, was convicted in 2016 of 40 felony counts, including grand theft and securities fraud, involving 11 victims. He had been extradicted to the United States in 2013 after being detained in Panama.

Read the original article in U.S. News & World Report.

Stockton Real Estate Agent Sentenced to Prison in Mortgage Fraud Case

November 16th, 2017 at 8:33am

Arthur Change Menefee, 46, a real estate agent, has been sentenced to three years in prison for his role in a mortgage fraud scheme.

According to U.S. Attorney Phillip Talbert, Menefee assisted unqualified buyers to prepare fraudulent loan applications. Aleksandr Kovalev, who previously pleaded guilty in this scheme, sold the buyers properties and paid kickbacks to them that were not disclosed lenders.

Also pleading guilty earlier were Jannice Riddick, Florence Francisco, Adil Qayyum, Elsie Pamela Fuller, Valeriy Vasilevitsky, Ruth Willis and Leona Yeargin.

Read the original article in the Central Valley Business Times.

Two Long Beach Men Charged in Real Estate Fraud of Elderly, Deceased Persons

November 15th, 2017 at 8:42am

The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department (LASD) is seeking other possible victims in an identity theft and real estate fraud scheme after arresting real estate broker Andrew Hutchings, 59, and Ronald Hoch, 60.

The men are charged by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office with identity theft, forgery, procuring and offering a false instrument, grand theft and money laundering involving homes located in the cities of Los Angeles, Lakewood, Hemet and Westlake Village.

LASD-Nixle states “The defendants allegedly impersonated the victims and then sold, or attempted to sell the victims’ homes, or obtained loans using the victims’ homes as collateral,” the release stated. “Proceeds from the fraud were laundered by purchasing gold coins from out of state companies, and shipping the coins to mail boxes in California which were obtained under false names.”

Read the original article in the Long Beach Post.

Visalia Man Sentenced for Craigslist Rental Fraud

November 15th, 2017 at 7:58am

Visalia resident Nicholas Vallez, 29, has been sentenced to one year in  jail plus restitution for real estate fraud by Judge Nathan Leedy.

Vallez pleaded no contest in May to one felony count of grand theft, one felony count of forgery, and one misdemeanor count of petty theft. He had listed a property he did not own in Visalia on Craigslist for rent in August 2016, and collected money from prospective renters.

Read the original article in the Visalia Times-Delta.

The case was prosecuted by the Tulare County District Attorney’s Office.

© 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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