Federal indictment charges 7 people in alleged $17 million multistate mortgage scams, Ponzi schemes

September 15, 2012

OregonLive.com on September 14, 2012 released the following:

“By The Associated Press

A federal indictment unsealed Friday charged seven people with running a multistate Ponzi scheme and related mortgage fraud scams that prosecutors said cost investors and lenders a combined $17 million.

The years-long investigation resulted in the arrest of 55-year-old Lawrence Leland Loomis. He and his father-in-law, John Hagener, 76, were charged with operating a fraudulent California-based investment fund that cost more than 100 investors more than $7 million.

Both men are from Granite Bay, a wealthy Sacramento suburb.

Hagener’s attorney, William Portanova, said his client would plead not guilty in federal court in Sacramento. It was not immediately clear if the others had retained attorneys.

Loomis and five other defendants are also charged in a 50-count indictment with costing lenders $10 million in losses through two mortgage fraud schemes.

Prosecutors said all three frauds were operated through Loomis Wealth Solutions, which was based in California and also worked with investors in Illinois, Washington and elsewhere from 2006 through 2008.

“We are bringing to justice some of those who are responsible for the mortgage crisis in this district and elsewhere,” U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wagner said in a statement announcing the indictments.

Portanova said the investigation was under way for at least four years before his client was charged.

“We’re looking forward to a resolution of this matter. It’s been a long investigation and we’re all ready to move forward,” Portanova said. “Large-scale, long-term white collar investigations are by their nature measured by calendars, not stopwatches.”

Loomis and Hagener were charged with bilking investors through a program called Naras Funds in 2007 and 2008. The indictment said Loomis encouraged investors to tap their home equity and retirement accounts to buy shares in the funds and to help purchase residential real estate.

He called the investments “simply the best financial plan ever created,” according to prosecutors.

He and his father-in-law allegedly promised 12 percent annual returns and said the funds were guaranteed, but the indictment claims the men used investors’ money to pay themselves, their companies’ operating expenses, and to prop up the scheme by paying later investors with money from earlier victims.

Loomis and Hagener had court appearances Friday, while the others were to appear later.

Loomis and a real estate appraiser, Darren Fehst, 44, of Halifax, Nova Scotia, are also charged in connection with a mortgage fraud scheme in which Loomis is accused of paying Fehst thousands of dollars to overstate appraisals so properties could be sold for inflated prices.

Loomis and four others also are charged with buying about 200 properties in Arizona, California, Florida and elsewhere while falsifying the sales prices and costing lenders about $10 million.

The others are Michael Llamas, 27, of Tracy; Peter Woodard, 54, of Ventura; Joseph A. Gekko, 43, of Yorba Linda; and Dawn C. Powers, 42, of Lincoln.

All are charged with mail and wire fraud. Each fraud charge carries a maximum possible sentence of 20 years in federal prison.”

Federal Mail Fraud Crimes – 18 U.S.C. § 1341

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Detention Hearing

Federal Mail Fraud Crimes

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Denver FBI office investigating more cases of public corruption

January 22, 2012

Denver Post on January 22, 2012 released the following:

“By Felisa Cardona
The Denver Post

The Denver FBI is investigating more than a dozen cases of public corruption in Colorado, Wyoming and Indian country.

The number of investigations is up from three years ago, when agents in the public-corruption unit launched a special hotline urging people to come forward with information.

At the time, the FBI said either no public corruption existed in the region, which was unlikely, or it was underreported. But things have changed.

“We are very busy right now,” said Supervising Special Agent Brian Schmitt. “I don’t know if it is a result of the down economy or if there are more avenues to report.”

Public corruption is defined as an abuse of public office or position within the government for personal gain.

Agents won’t provide details about pending cases but say theft and mishandling of stimulus funds, legislative corruption and law enforcement corruption are the types of crimes they look into.

White-collar crimes such as bribery, fraud, extortion, embezzlement, insider trading and influence peddling take a long time to investigate and require agents who have special skills.

In 2010, the FBI opened an investigation into a Denver driving-school instructor who was taking bribes in exchange for passing tests.

Criminal charges haven’t been filed against Sikiru Fadeyi, the owner of Ola’s Driving School, but undercover agents infiltrated his business and recorded him accepting bribes, court records show.

The reason charges have not materialized against Fadeyi — who was an agent of the state because he was licensed to administer tests — is because of the complex nature of the investigation. Leads from that case extend to other states as far away as New York and Hawaii.

For now, Fadeyi’s license is suspended and he is not allowed to operate the driving school.

FBI agents routinely work cases with local law enforcement, but when it comes to corruption investigations, the agents tackle them alone. They don’t want local officers with ties to a particular city or agency in conflict with the investigation.

Public-corruption cases — such as the charges against former Democratic Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich — receive intense coverage by the media and are followed closely by the public, which can complicate investigations for the FBI.

Witnesses are less likely to come forward when there is too much attention on a case, Schmitt said.

Also, agents and federal prosecutors are aware that the targets of white-collar investigations typically hire top-notch defense lawyers to fight the charges.

“The cases we put together have to be rock solid,” he said.

Schmitt said corruption in the region isn’t rampant as it is in places such as Detroit and New Orleans, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

“Anywhere you have money and power, corruption follows,” he said.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Crimes Watch Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.