California Real Estate Fraud Report

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Archive for December, 2017

Chatsworth Father and Daughter Convicted in $30 Million Family-Owned Mortgage Relief Fraud Scheme

December 15th, 2017 at 9:17am

Jamie Matsuba, 33, and Thomas Matsuba, 67, were found guilty in Los Angeles federal court of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, making false statements to federally insured banks and committing identity theft, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. They were also convicted of one count of making false statements to federally insured banks.

Dorothy Matsuba, 66, of Chatsworth, who is the mother of Jamie Matsuba and Thomas Matsuba‘s wife, and their daughter, Jane Matsuba-Garcia, 41, of Camarillo, both previously pleaded guilty. A fifth defendant, Young Park, of Los Angeles, is a fugitive.

Dorothy MatsubaJamie Matsuba, and Jane Matsuba all hold either current or expired licenses with the California Bureau of Real Estate.

The family ran business named Ownership Management Service LLC and Trust Holding Service LLC from January 2005 to August 2014. The companies promised homeowners get help for distressed homeowners by doing short sales with the lenders. The homeowners were told to deed their homes to trust controlled by the Matsubas, who further promised the homeowners they would pay their mortgages during the negotiation period with the banks.

Read the original article in SatPRNews and MyNewsLA.com

 

Authorities Warn of Con Artists and Scams Targeting Victims of Thomas Fire

December 15th, 2017 at 9:06am

The Ventura County District Attorney’s Office is warning residents to be on the watch for price gouging after the inception of the Thomas Fire, now the fourth-largest blaze in California’s recorded history.

Deputy District Attorney Brian Rafelson reported that the District Attorney’s Office has received complaints about price gouging for housing and gas. They have set up a hotline dedicated to fielding these calls, which is 805-662-1728.

The latest scheme involves con artists posing as insurance agents and promising affected residents “expedited” insurance coverage or pay-outs in exchange for a deductible increase.

Read the original article in the Ventura County Star.

Fresno, California Couple Accused of Financial Elder Abuse

December 9th, 2017 at 9:14am

Fatemeh Sanifar, an elderly California woman, is suing a Fresno County couple, alleging financial elder abuse.

Sanifar’s attorney filed a complaint October 2 in Fresno County Superior Court against Sunnie Maris, Peter Maris and Does 1-15, alleging they breach of good faith and fair dealing.

The lawsuit stems from a real estate transaction that Sanifar entered into with the defendants in April, 2016 to purchase a property. She alleges the property was very overpriced at $485,000 instead of a market value of no more than $250,000.

Read the original article in the Northern California Record.

 

Venezuelan Fugitive Charged with Defrauding Wells Fargo in $9 Million Mortgage Fraud Scheme

December 8th, 2017 at 9:33am

After eight long years, Napoleon Olarte, a fugitive believed to be in Venezuela has been indicted on nine counts, including one count of conspiracy, six counts of bank fraud, and two counts of making false statements to a financial institution, according to details provided by the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of Inspector General.

Two of Olarte’s co-conspirators, Juan Jose Calle and Nancy Karina Coleman, have already pleaded guilty in the mortgage fraud scheme that cost Wells Fargo approximately $9 million.

Nancy Coleman worked as a mortgage consultant at Wells Fargo and accepted bribes and other favors in exchange for approving the fraudulent loans for Calle and Olarte, who allegedly ran a “rogue brokerage and escrow company” in California called Fast Escrow.

Read the original article in HousingWire.

Two Members Of A Nevada City-Based Conspiracy Convicted In Multi-Million Dollar Bank And Title Fraud Scheme

December 8th, 2017 at 9:19am

The following is a press release by the FBI:

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Earlier today, a federal jury found two men guilty in a bank fraud scheme that sought to fraudulently eliminate home mortgages and then profit on the subsequent home sales, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.

George B. Larsen, 56, formerly of San Rafael, was found guilty of conspiracy and four counts of bank fraud. Larry Todt, 65, formerly of Malibu, was found guilty of conspiracy and one count of bank fraud.

According to court documents, between April 22, 2010, and November 18, 2011, Larsen and Todt were members of a conspiracy that ran a “mortgage elimination program” purporting to help distressed homeowners avoid foreclosure.  The conspirators fraudulently altered the chain of title on residential properties, sold the properties, and received the sales proceeds.

As a requirement for participation in the “mortgage elimination program,” the conspirators enrolled homeowners as members in a Nevada City-based church named Shon-te-East-a, Walks With Spirit, or its successor entity Pillow Foundation. The conspirators indicated to the homeowners these entities would offer protection against the banks.

Larsen and Todt each ran branches of the mortgage elimination program, recruiting homeowners into the scheme, marshalling the necessary recorded documents, and guiding the homes through sale. Once the homeowner enrolled with Shon-te-East-a or Pillow Foundation, Larsen and Todt would have a sham deed of trust created and recorded, giving the impression that the homeowner had refinanced the mortgage loan with a new lender. In reality, the new lender was a fake entity controlled by the conspirators, and the homeowner owed no money to the purported new lender.

The next step in the process was also a recorded document. The conspirators caused a fake deed of reconveyance to be recorded, giving the appearance that the true mortgage loan had been discharged and that the true lienholder no longer had a security interest in the home.

With title appearing to be clear, the conspirators caused the sale of the home, with the proceeds split between the co-conspirators and the homeowners.

In total, 37 properties were sold through the Shon-te-East-a conspiracy. The conspirators recorded fraudulent documents on an additional approximately 100 homes, but were unable to sell these before the scheme unraveled.

This case is the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Audrey B. Hemesath and Todd A. Pickles are prosecuting the case.

Three other co-defendants have previously entered guilty pleas. On April 21, 2017, Remus A. Kirkpatrick, formerly of Oceanside, pleaded guilty to one count of falsely making writings of lending associations. On May 26, 2017, Michael Romano, of Benicia, pleaded guilty to conspiracy, and on July 14, 2017, Laura Pezzi, of Roseville, pleaded guilty to falsely making writings of lending associations. They are scheduled to be sentenced on February 23, 2018.     Co-defendants John Michael DiChiara, of Penn Valley, and James Castle, of Santa Rosa, are still awaiting trial. The charges against DiChiara and Castle are only allegations:  both defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

In related cases, on September 4, 2015, Tisha Trites and Todd Smith, both of San Diego, pleaded guilty to related charges before U.S. District Judge Garland E. Burrell, Jr. They are scheduled to be sentenced on February 9, 2018.

Larsen and Todt are scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Garland E. Burrell, Jr. on March 16, 2018, at which time they each face a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The maximum penalty for bank fraud is 30 years and a $1 million fine. The actual sentences, 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.

New Jersey Attorney and Real Estate Agent Charged with Running Short Sale Fraud Ring

December 7th, 2017 at 9:38am

New Jersey attorney Christopher Goodson, 44, and Anthony Garvin, 47, have been charged with one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud with respect to multiple short sale frauds in a criminal complaint that was filed in U.S. District Court in Newark.

According to an article in Credit Union Times, the pair were thought to have caused over $30 million in losses to the victim financial institutions.

According to the complaint, Goodson, Garvin and others targeted multiple New Jersey properties that were in default. After acquiring the listings, the conspirators convinced the lenders to accept a short sale to a co-conspirator or entity controlled by the group. They did not disclose to the lenders that they were in business with each other or the entities. Once the sales were complete, they allegedly flipped the properties to a second buyer using phony loan applications, bank statements and employment records generated by members of the group.

 

© 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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