Archives For Investment Scams

Melvin Russell “Rusty” Shields, 45, Granite Falls, North Carolina, and Michael Sims, 60, Gilroy, California, the founders of the S3 Partners, were sentenced to prison for investment fraud and fraudulently obtaining millions of dollars from banks by submitting forged and fraudulent invoices and loan closing documents.

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John Packard, 64, Long Beach, California, one of the owners of a now-defunct Southern California real estate investment firm, pleaded guilty to perpetrating a fraudulent scheme that ended with the bankruptcy of the company, in which investors and banks collectively lost more than $110 million.

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George Christo George, 55, Las Vegas, Nevada, pleaded guilty to mortgage fraud in a case involving defrauding several Northern Nevadans together of more than $238,000 through elaborate schemes that included bogus real estate deals with a fictitious wealthy sheikh and investments in a luxury downtown Reno, Nevada high rise.

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Mohammed Rafikian, aka Mo Kian, 54, Queens, New York, has been re-sentenced to a term of 16 to 50 years in prison after being tried again and re-convicted of holding himself out as an attorney and a registered investment advisor and then stealing $5 million from seven individuals through fraudulent real estate and capital investment transactions.

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Vincent Singh, 45, formerly of Elk Grove, California, was sentenced by United States District Judge Morrison C. England Jr. to 15.5 years in prison for wire fraud and false statements in bankruptcy for stealing funds intended for hard money lending.

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Intermundo Media, LLC, using the name Delta Prime Refinance, an Internet-based operation that finds potential borrowers for mortgage refinancing lenders, will pay a $500,000 civil penalty to settle charges that it deceived borrowers with false claims that they could refinance their mortgages for free.

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Andrew Daniel, 48, Brentwood, New York, has been arrested for allegedly posing as a real estate agent in a scheme that defrauded an investor of nearly $200,000 in down payments for numerous properties.

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Lawrence Foster, 49, Miami Beach, Florida, the President of Paradise is Mine, was found guilty by a federal jury of conspiring to commit wire fraud and seven counts of wire fraud, and Johana Leon, 38, Miami Beach, a corporate officer of Paradise is Mine, was found guilty of three counts of structuring currency transactions, for their roles in soliciting funds from investors promising that Paradise is Mine owned land and would use investor funds to develop the island of Rum Cay in the Bahamas, but instead used the money for personal use.

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Patrick J. Belzner, a/k/a Patrick McCloskey, 45, Selbyville, Delaware, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge J. Frederick Motz to 15 years in prison followed, by three years of supervised release, on charges of wire fraud conspiracy, wire fraud and tax evasion for his role in a scheme to rip off investors by promising to secure large loans in exchange for substantial sums deposited in an escrow bank account.

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Marie Mikesche Bontigao, 43, West Chester, Pennsylvania, was charged by indictment for her alleged role in a fraud scheme wherein she solicited individuals to invest in her real estate projects but, instead of investing the lenders’ money in real estate, the funds were used to operate her business and pay personal expenses

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