Archives For Michael J. Stewart

Michael J. Stewart, 68, San Clemente, California, the CEO of a now-defunct Southern California real estate investment firm, was found guilty of 11 counts of mail fraud following a nine-day jury trial before United States District Judge Cormac J. Carney.  The charges arose out of a real estate scheme that ended with the bankruptcy of the company and hundreds of investors collectively losing as much as $169 million.

Stewart owned and was the chief executive of Pacific Property Assets (PPA), which had offices in Long Beach and Irvine, California. Along with co-defendant John Packard, Stewart created PPA in 1999 to purchase, renovate, operate, and resell or refinance apartment complexes in Southern California and Arizona. Typically, PPA financed property acquisitions through mortgages, and it raised money from private investors to pay for renovations to the properties. After several years, PPA would refinance (or sometimes sell) each property. Continue Reading…

Trial Continues in Case Against Real Estate Firm Co-Owner Accused of Ponzi Scheme

The trial of a Phoenix man accused of setting up a real estate Ponzi scheme during the Great Recession continued in Santa Ana on Tuesday.

According to federal prosecutors who spoke with jurors at court, Michael J. Stewart—a co-owner of a real estate firm based in Irvine and Long Beach—set up the Ponzi scheme to pay off old investors while continuing to recruit new ones for a plan to flip distressed apartment buildings during the Great Recession’s housing collapse.

Stewart’s attorney told jurors that in fact his client was innocent and thought his plan was financially prudent because homeowners who lost their property in foreclosure would need to rent apartments.