Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Real Estate Broker Gets Bagged In Alleged Racket That Fleeced At Least 32 Victims Out Of $498K In Purchase Deposits On Homes Fraudulently Marketed As Short Sales

In Norwalk, California, City News Service reports:
  • Sheriff’s investigators were asking for the public’s help in identifying victims of an alleged escrow fee scam, authorities said [].

    Broker Mario Gonzalez of MCR Escrow Division was arrested [...] at the firm’s offices [...] by investigators with the sheriff’s Fraud and Cyber Crimes Bureau, said Deputy Tina Schrader of the Sheriff’s Information Bureau.

    Gonzalez was suspected of being involved in an escrow fee scam involving 32 victims with a total loss of $498,000, Schrader said.

    The alleged scam began in 2014 and involved homes fraudulently listed as short sale properties, she said. Victims submitted bids and once chosen were asked to provide escrow fees to secure the properties. Sales were never finalized and fees were not returned to the victims, investigators allege.

    The 45-year-old Gonzalez was booked into the Norwalk Sheriff’s Station for suspicion of grand theft and was released on $70,000 bail, according to sheriff’s inmate records. [...] Anyone with information about additional victims was asked to call Detective Keith Clark at (562) 946-7217 or tips can be made anonymously at Crime Stoppers, (800) 222-TIPS (8477).

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