Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Real Estate Agent Pinched On Suspicion Of Grand Theft, Elder Abuse For Allegedly Filching Nearly $1 Million From Clients Conned Into Believing They Were Buying Foreclosed Homes At Bargain Prices

In Santa Clara County, California, Bay Area News Service reports:
  • A real estate agent has been arrested for allegedly defrauding her older clients out of nearly a million dollars by fooling them into thinking they were buying foreclosed homes at bargain prices and then keeping the cash for herself, according to the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office.

    A $1 million arrest warrant has landed Geana Or, 46, of Lathrop, in San Joaquin County jail on suspicion of grand theft and elder abuse, the Sheriff's Office announced []. Arrangements are being made to transport her to Santa Clara County for prosecution. The suspect also goes by Geana Lay.

    According to investigators, the West Valley Patrol Division was alerted to the fraud after a 73-year-old Los Altos Hills resident reported that he was approached by his real-estate agent last year and proposed that he purchase two homes that were "supposedly approaching foreclosure." Between January and March of 2015, the agent, since identified as Or, convinced him to write 10 cashier's checks in her name, totaling about $475,000.

    Or allegedly convinced a resident of South Santa Clara County to buy into a similar arrangement, investigators said. In December, both clients said they were informed that the real-estate deals fell through, but never saw their money again.

    An investigation led to the issuing of an arrest warrant for Or, who was arrested May 1 near her home.

    The Real Estate Fraud Unit with the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office is prosecuting the case, and Sheriff's investigators believe Or could have additional victims. Anyone with information for authorities can contact Sgt. Mark Roggia at 408-868-6631 or their local law-enforcement agency.