In Los Angeles, California, the Los Angeles Times
- Charles Elliott Fitzgerald, an admitted architect of one of the largest real estate frauds in California history, was sentenced Friday to 14 years in federal prison for his part in bilking mortgage lenders of more than $40 million. Fitzgerald, 48, pleaded guilty in May to conspiracy, fraud and other charges, acknowledging that he reaped at least $5 million from the scheme, which was based in Beverly Hills and involved high-end house flips.
- Prosecutors said Fitzgerald and his alleged co-conspirators, including developer Mark Alan Abrams and star real estate agents Joseph Babajian and Kyle Grasso, hatched their scheme during California's burgeoning real estate boom of the late 1990s and early 2000s.(1)
- "I am sorry for everything that happened," Fitzgerald, who wore a white prison jumpsuit and was shackled at the waist, told the judge as his wife and six children sat at the back of the courtroom.
For more, see Mastermind in one of California's largest real estate scams gets 14 years (Charles Elliott Fitzgerald, 48, pleaded guilty in May to charges of bilking mortgage lenders of more than $40 million. The scheme was based in Beverly Hills and involved high-end house flips).
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(1) According to the story, Babajian, 55, Grasso, 37, and another defendant, appraiser Lila Rizk, 41, have pleaded not guilty and are awaiting trials that have yet to be scheduled. Abrams, 47, and six other defendants have pleaded guilty and will be sentenced after the remaining criminal cases play out.