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Ponzi scheme

Two Arrested in Real Estate Ponzi Scheme

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The owners of a now-defunct Southern California real estate investment firm have been arrested for allegedly perpetrating a Ponzi scheme that ended with the bankruptcy of their company and caused private investors and banks collectively to lose well over $110 million when the scheme collapsed.Click to continue

Four Busted in California Real Estate Scam

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California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris has announced the arrest of four suspects who have been charged with securities fraud, conspiracy and elder abuse for operating a Ponzi scheme that bilked dozens of investors of over $2.3 million. The arrest declaration alleges that Gold Country Lenders, a real estate company in Grass Valley, Calif., engaged in a pattern of theft and fraud-related crimes for more than eight years. Investor funds were used to make interest payments to earlier investors or for projects in which the company’s owner had a financial interest.Click to continue

Two Arrested in California for Foreclosure Scam Targeting Latinos

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California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris has announced the arrest of two individuals in a $1.3 million Ponzi scheme that targeted Latino investors, many of whom were seniors. Edwin G. Salazar of Downey, Calif. and Michael Z. Zuniga of Fullerton, Calif. were arrested on 57 counts of elder abuse, grand theft and securities fraud. Salazar's bail was set at $100,000 and Zuniga's at $50,000. From January 2007 through June 2008, licensed insurance agents Salazar and Zuniga, doing business as OMEGA Investment Group of Downey, Calif.Click to continue

Obama Taps Michael J. Bresnick to Lead Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force

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U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has announced the appointment of Michael J. Bresnick as executive director of President Barack Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force. Bresnick spent the last eight years investigating and prosecuting complex fraud cases at the federal level. Bresnick began his career as a federal prosecutor in 2003 as an assistant U.S. attorney in Philadelphia, where he prosecuted a variety of criminal cases, including financial fraud, healthcare fraud, public corruption and Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act (RICO) offenses.Click to continue

Arizona Man Indicted in $76 Million Real Estate Ponzi Scheme

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Douglas F. Vaughan has been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges stemming from a fraudulent investment operation that was actually a multimillion dollar Ponzi scheme. The 30-count indictment generally alleges that, between 2005 and 2010, Vaughan operated a promissory note investment program, which he marketed as a means of generating revenue to grow his real estate business, as a Ponzi scheme. It further alleges that Vaughan owed more than $76 million in unpaid principal and interest payments to approximately 600 investors when the fraudulent scheme collapsed in early 2010.Click to continue

California Man Gets 22-Year Sentence for Leading Ponzi Scheme and Mortgage Fraud Scam

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Juan Rangel of Downey, Calif. has been sentenced to 22 years in federal prison for running two fraud schemes—a Ponzi scheme that took in at least $30 million from more than 500 victims, and a mortgage fraud scheme that preyed on working-class homeowners by stealing the equity from their homes and secretly taking title to their properties. Rangel, who has been in federal custody since August 2008, pleaded guilty on Oct. 27 to one count of mail fraud and one count of money laundering.Click to continue

Three in Illinois Accused in $43 Million Muslim Real Estate Fraud Scheme

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Three owners of a bankrupt Chicago real estate development firm that purported to adhere to Islamic law in handling investments from individuals in the Chicago area and nationwide actually operated a Ponzi scheme that defrauded hundreds of victims and three banks of more than $43 million, according to a federal indictment. The defendants, who owned Sunrise Equities Inc., allegedly fraudulently obtained more than $40 million from more than 300 investors through the sale of promissory notes and fraudulently obtained more than $29 million in loans from three area banks.Click to continue

Oregon Developer and Mortgage Broker Convicted of Theft, Racketeering and Fraud

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Oregon Attorney General John Kroger has announced the conviction of Medford, Ore.-area developer and mortgage broker, James C. Nistler, in a complex real estate Ponzi scheme to defraud investors. Nistler, who was a high-ranking U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) official in the late 1980s, was unanimously convicted of one count of racketeering, eight counts of securities fraud and eight counts of aggravated theft in the first degree.Click to continue

California Man Pleads Guilty in Mortgage Fraud Scheme Targeting Latino Homeowners

Cherry Red Gavel/Credit: Comstock

Juan Rangel of Downey, Calif. has pled guilty to federal fraud and money laundering charges, admitting that he ran two fraudulent operations—a Ponzi scheme that took in $30 million from more than 300 victims and a mortgage fraud scheme that preyed on homeowners by stealing the equity from their homes and secretly taking title to their properties.Click to continue

California Man Charged With Running $10 Million Mortgage Fraud Scheme

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A federal grand jury has indicted Juan Rangel of Downey, Calif. on a series of fraud charges for allegedly running two related fraud schemes—a Ponzi scheme that took more than $11 million from more than 300 victims, and a mortgage fraud scheme that preyed on homeowners by stealing the equity from their homes and secretly taking title to their properties. Rangel, who is already in federal custody after his conviction last year for bribing a bank manager at Bank of America, was charged in a 16-count indictment that was returned by a federal grand jury on Sept. 22.Click to continue