California Real Estate Fraud Report

You have just entered the #1 private-sector resource on the Internet for real estate fraud. In doing so, you have voluntarily left the dimension of the conventional real estate world and crossed over to the Dark Side, the realm where greed, dishonesty and evil are the order of the day. Sign up for a free subscription to this comprehensive news resource and receive weekly, timely news reports about real estate fraud, mortgage fraud, short sale fraud, REO fraud, title fraud, loan fraud, appraisal fraud, affinity fraud, loan modification scams, securities fraud and elder financial fraud. *** AS OF NOVEMBER 2017, THE CALIFORNIA REAL ESTATE FRAUD REPORT IS 10 YEARS OLD! ***

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.

Sonoma Valley Bank Fraud Trial for Former Executives Begins

October 27th, 2017 at 8:59am

Federal prosecutors began presenting their case against two former Sonoma Valley Bank executives and a Santa Rosa attorney, accusing them of “throwing good money after bad” by extending tens of millions of dollars to a now-deceased developer through third parties.

The defendants are former president Sean Cutting, 48, former VP and Chief Loan Officer Brian Melland, 48, and attorney David Lonich, 63. Lonich was the chief counsel to Bijan Madjlessi, a Marin County developer accused of using straw buyers to get $44 million in construction loans.

Cutting, Melland and former CEO and director Mel Switzer settled with the FDIC last year for $5.4 million.

The alleged scheme put the bank out of business and cost 1,000 shareholders steep losses.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Alex Tse is prosecuting the case for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California.

Read the original article in the Santa Rosa Press Democrat.

Trial of Paso Robles Hard Money Lenders Goes to Trial – after 10 Years

October 27th, 2017 at 8:42am

Ten years after the former owners of Real Property Lenders allegedly scammed investors out of hundreds of thousands of dollars, they are set for trial.

Rodney Jarmin and Tammy Jordan, were hard money lenders who are now looking at several counts of selling securities by means of false statements or omissions.

Hard money loans are considered high-yield but risky investments. In this case Real Property Lenders are accused by prosecutors from the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office of not disclosing to their investors that they builders to which they had loan money for construction of the Heritage Ranch and Ground Squirrel Hollow subdivisions had defaulted on their loans and that the previous investors had not been paid dividends.

Read the original article in the San Luis Obispo Tribune.

Sacramento Investor Indicted for Bid Rigging at Foreclosure Auction

October 27th, 2017 at 8:29am

Real estate investor Yama Marifat has been indicted by a federal grand jury. He is accused of conspiring with other real estate investors of rigging bids at public real estate foreclosure auctions, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Dozens of real estate investors have been indicted since 2009 in various Northern California counties for bid rigging, in which they agree not to bid against one another. Instead, the conspirators choose one of their group to bid on a property, after which they hold private auctions among themselves.

Bid rigging subverts the competitive process, undermines consumers’ confidence in the market, and will not be tolerated,” says Assistant U.S. Attorney General Makan Delrahim of the Department of Justice Antitrust Division.

Read the original article in the Central Valley Business Times.

Coto de Caza Sentenced for the Second Time in a Month for Money Laundering and Foreclosure Fraud

October 20th, 2017 at 9:30am

Kevin Frank Rasher of Coto de Caza had convinced hundreds of homeowners that he could save their homes from foreclosure.

Rasher, 46, was sentenced in Orange County Superior Court to 12 years in prison after pleading guilty to 49 counts of money laundering and one count of preparing a false or fraudulent tax return. Less than a month ago, Rasher received an 8 year sentence after pleading guilty to multiple counts of mail fraud, which will be served concurrently.

According to both state and federal prosecutors, Kevin Rasher claimed at times to his 500 victims that he was an attorney or official with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and that they should send their payments directly to him. He used the money to enhance his lifestyle

Read the original article in the OC Register.

Two Men Sentenced to Lengthy Prison Terms for San Diego “Mansion Fraud” Case

October 20th, 2017 at 9:15am

San Diego businessman and a lawyer from Arizona received length sentences for engineering a multi-million real estate loan fraud in San Diego.

U.S. District Court Judge William Q. Hayes sentenced Cortland Gettel, 43 of Coronado to 135 months in prison and Jeffrey Greenberg, 67, of Tucson, Arizona to 81 months.

Gettel owned Conix, real estate investment firm that was also known as Variant Commercial Real Estate. Greenberg was the company’s attorney. Prosecutors had accused the pair of misleading lenders into approving loans for them to purchase four multi-million dollar mansions in La Jolla and Del Mar under the pretext the properties were high-end investment and luxury rentals. What really happened was that Gettel, his business partner Peter Cash Doye and their families lived in the homes.

Read the original article in the San Diego Union Tribune.


Atwater Couple Indicted in Federal Mortgage Fraud Probe

October 20th, 2017 at 8:58am

John Ballard, 55, and Judy Calderon Ballard, 54, are two of the four people named in a federal indictment by the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of California.  The Ballards are charged with conspiracy, wire fraud and bank fraud with respect to an alleged short-sale scheme, according to U.S. Attorney Phillip Talbert.

The other two defendants are Sherry Herbert, 54, and Andrea Todd, 53.

John and Judy Ballard were licensed real estate salespersons according to prosecutors. When they defaulted on their home in Atwater, they asked their lender to permit them to sell their home to Herbert and Todd but had no intention of actually transferring the property to them.

Read the original article in the Modesto Bee.

© 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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