Archives For Investment Scams

Michael St. Claire, 36, Skaneateles, New York was sentenced to six months in prison, an additional four months of home confinement, and ordered to pay $1,257,945 in restitution in connection with a mortgage fraud scheme which resulted in losses of more than $1 million to lenders. St. Claire previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Continue Reading…

Alberic Okou Agodio, 30, Bethesda, Maryland, pleaded guilty to conspiracy, wire fraud, and aggravated identity theft, arising from a mortgage fraud scheme.  He used the names of immigrants and students, along with false financial information, to obtain approximately $3.8 million in home mortgage loans.  He bought approximately three dozen row houses in Baltimore, all of which are in default or foreclosure. Continue Reading…

Jerome Whittington, 65, La Quinta, California; Patricia Torres Zavala, 42, Benicia, California; and, Kathleen Moore, 68, Olympia, Washington have been charged by a federal grand jury for their roles in a variety of fraudulent schemes, including one involving short sales, that victimized at least 20 investors and caused losses of more than $2 million.

The three defendants were charged in a superseding indictment filed on July 8, 2015. The 24-count indictment alleges that they lied to investors in a series of schemes, and then used investor money for personal expenses rather than investing the funds as promised.

Whittington is also charged in a separate case with posing as a former federal prosecutor in a case involving a former DEA agent.  Continue Reading…

Cecil Sylvester Chester, 68, accountant, Mitchellville, Maryland; Michael Gerard Camphor, 59, real estate agent, Baltimore, Maryland; and Christopher Andy Kwegan, 58, real estate agent, Randallstown, Maryland were indicted by a federal grand jury on charges arising from the fraudulent purchase of seven properties in Baltimore, Maryland, using fraudulent loan documentation and straw purchasers, resulting in losses of over $1.7 million. Continue Reading…

Stavroula Mendez, 68, real estate developer, was sentenced to 135 months in prison; Lazaro Mendez, 42, real estate developer, was sentenced to 108 months in prison; and Marie Mendez, 49, real estate developer, was sentenced to 57 months in prison in connection with their roles in a mortgage fraud scheme that caused losses of $27.8 million.  U.S. District Judge Patricia A. Seitz of the Southern District of Florida also ordered each of the defendants to forfeit $35,252,331 in fraudulent proceeds and to pay $21,240,064 in restitution.  In November 2014, all three defendants were convicted of wire fraud, bank fraud and conspiracy.  Eleven other co-conspirators were previously convicted of fraud in connection with the scheme. Continue Reading…

Akbar Bhamani, 61, Carmichael, California, the head of a Sacramento, California, real estate investment firm, has been sentenced to 48 months in prison for duping investors by promising that deeds of trust would be secured on properties in which the investor would be in no worse than second or third position and that the indebtedness on the property would never exceed 70 percent of the value of the property.

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David Garcia Herrera, 70, Torrance, California, a former special agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration, has been arrested on federal fraud charges for allegedly posing as an active FBI agent and helping a man who posed as a former federal prosecutor to defraud a man who enlisted their help in recovering money lost in two fraudulent investment schemes.

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Carlton P. Cabot, 52, Stamford, Connecticut, and Timothy J. Kroll, 44, New Hope, Pennsylvania, – the former Chief Executive Officer and Chief Operating Officer of Cabot Investment Properties LLC, respectively – were arrested for allegedly participating in a scheme to defraud investors in numerous real estate investments by misappropriating over $17 million to pay for personal and business expenses and covering up their fraud with manipulated financial statements.

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Bryan Binkholder, 43, Wentzville, Missouri, was sentenced to 108 months in prison on multiple fraud charges involving his financial planning and investment strategy businesses. In addition to the prison sentence, he was also ordered to pay $3,655,980 restitution to the victims.

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David Williams, 54, Studio City, California, a licensed securities dealer and investment adviser, as well as the former president and CEO of Sherman Oaks, California-based Morgan Peabody, Inc. brokerage and investment firm has pleaded guilty to federal wire fraud charges stemming from a real estate investment scam that resulted in about five dozen investors losing nearly $4 million.

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