County prosecutors are seeking the public's help in finding other potential victims of a man arraigned today for allegedly defrauding more than $87,000 from Hispanic victims in real estate fraud scheme.
Arthur Gonzales Diaz, 56, of Anaheim, is charged with seven felony counts of grand theft and one misdemeanor count of engaging in business as a real estate broker without a license with a sentencing enhancement for property damage exceeding $65,000. If he is convicted, he can rot in the can for up to eight years.
The Orange County District Attorney's Office statement on Diaz's arraignment follows:
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November 5, 2010
OCDA SEEKS PUBLIC'S HELP IN IDENTIFYING ADDITIONAL HISPANIC VICTIMS OF MAN CHARGED WITH DEFRAUDING OVER $87,000 FROM IN REAL ESTATE FRAUD SCHEME
SANTA ANA - The Orange County District Attorney (OCDA) is asking for the public's help in identifying potential additional Hispanic victims of a man who was arraigned today for defrauding over $87,000 from Hispanic victims in real estate fraud scheme. Arthur Gonzales Diaz, 56, Anaheim, is charged with seven felony counts of grand theft and one misdemeanor count of engaging in business as a real estate broker without a license with a sentencing enhancement for property damage exceeding $65,000. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of eight years in state prison. Diaz is being held on $75,000 bail and must prove the money is from a legal and legitimate source before posting bond. He has a preliminary hearing scheduled Nov. 18, 2010, at 8:30 a.m. in Department C-55, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.
Beginning in August 2008, Diaz is accused of illegally operating as an independent Real Estate Mortgage Broker, despite his license being suspended since 1998. He is accused of coercing Spanish speaking victims into giving him money for bogus real estate deals including home loan modifications, short sales, home sales and purchases.
Diaz is accused of setting up three corporations Trans-World International Securities, Inc. International Marketing Network Corporation, and Banco International Realty, Inc. The defendant is accused of running independent operations out two Santa Ana offices, a RE/MAX branch office located at 2951 South Plaza Drive and a Century 21 Real Estate office located at 3500 South Bristol Street.
Between Aug. 1, 2008, and Dec. 16, 2009, Diaz is accused of knocking on door of Alicia L.'s home under the pretense of being a legitimate real estate broker at RE/MAX in Santa Ana. Diaz is accused of fraudulently taking $15,000 from the victim, not purchasing a home for her, obtaining a co-signer on her home loan, and returning only $2,000 of her money.
In March 2009, Diaz is accused of meeting victim Jesus A. while illegally operating his real estate business out of RE/MAX. He is accused of promising that for $9,000 the defendant's investors would purchase the home and re-sell it to the victim at a fixed mortgage rate. The defendant is accused of fraudulently taking the money, not selling the victim's property, and causing the victim's property to foreclose.
In April 2009, Diaz is accused of meeting Valerio S., who was attempting to get a loan modification completed at RE/MAX with another agent. Diaz is accused of fraudulently taking $15,500 from the victim and not purchasing a home for the victim or getting a home loan co-signer as promised.
In June 2009, the defendant is accused of meeting Efrain H. at RE/MAX and offering his services to help him purchase a home. Diaz is accused of taking $5,000 from the victim for a down payment on a home. Diaz never purchased a home for the victim or returned his money.
In June 2009, Diaz is accused of meeting victims Ramon and Patricia G., who were seeking loan modification on their home, while working in the RE/MAX office. He is accused of fraudulently taking $20,000 as a down payment and telling the victims that their home would be sold to investors who would re-sell it back to them in three months at a fixed mortgage rate. The defendant is accused of not selling the victims home, obtaining a loan modification for them or refunding their money.
In July 2009, Diaz is accused of meeting Erica J. who went to RE/MAX because she wanted to list her home for sale. Diaz is accused of telling the victim to sell her home in a short sale so she could stop paying her monthly mortgage payments while it was listed for sale. Diaz is accused of taking $20,000 from the victim, telling her it was for a reserve fund for the sale of her home which he would return plus $3,000 interest. The defendant is accused of never selling Erica J.'s home or refunding her money.
In addition, Diaz is accused of getting Erica J. to purchase a $104,000 Mercedes Benz, promising the victim to make the monthly car payments and find her a co-signer for her property. Diaz is accused of stopping to pay the monthly car payments leading the car to be repossessed and not obtaining a co-signer for Erika J. on her property.
In late December 2009, Diaz is accused of hiring Hector M. to be a transaction coordinator at RE/MAX. He is accused of fraudulently taking $5,000 from Hector M. for a real estate investment deal, promising to pay the victim 20 percent profit and in one month. The defendant is accused of never paying any money back.
Each victim reported fraud to their local police departments in the Cities of Placentia, Tustin, Anaheim, Garden Grove, and Santa Ana. In Sept. 2010, the OCDA began investigating the case and linking the cases. The OCDA filed charges Oct. 21, 2010. He was arrested yesterday, Nov. 4, 2010, by OCDA investigators and Anaheim Police Department officers.
The OCDA is asking for the public's help in identifying potential additional victims. Anyone with additional information or who believes they have been a victim is encouraged to contact Supervising District Attorney Investigator Ron Frazier at (714) 347-8691.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Peter Pierce of the Major Frauds Unit Real Estate and Mortgage Fraud Team is prosecuting this case.