The FBI is accusing three men of causing more than $10 million in losses to investors, homeowners and financial institutions through various real estate schemes.
After searches of one man's Tustin home, another suspect's in Coto de Caza and a Santa Ana business, the FBI on Thursday took into custody Kenneth Moore, 49, of Tustin, Atiqullah Nabizada, 29, of Coto de Caza, and Ahmed Tariq Asghari, 32, of Sherman Oaks.
The men are accused of targeting distressed homes, presenting phony short sale authorization letters, assuming the identities of property owners and in some cases selling or refinancing the properties without authorization, according to an FBI statement.
A short sale means the price of the home is less than what the current owner owes on the mortgage.
Once the smoke cleared, some buyers were left with homes that were devalued or that were subject to hundreds of dollars worth of liens. Multiple ownership changes of one home caused more than $1 million in losses, according to the FBI.
During the local searches, the FBI says several jewels, $548,937 in cash and luxury vehicles such as two Bentleys and a Mercedes-Benz were seized, as has about $1.7 million in bank accounts.
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Nabizada and Moore were held on suspicion of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and aggravated identity theft. Asghari faces attempted bank fraud and aggravated theft.
In most federal cases, the FBI does not release suspect mugshots. They are doing so in this case because it is feared there are other victims out there.
Sales in Coto de Caza, Newport Beach, Lake Forest, Anaheim, Pomona, Woodland Hills, Glendale, Los Angeles, Palm Desert and Cerritos are being probed as the investigation continues. Anyone with information is asked to call 888.226.8443.