OC Couple Claims Real Estate Seminar was Scam to Secure $245,000 Loan Against Their Property

An Orange County couple that attended a real estate seminar is suing 12 people and seven corporations, claiming information they put on an event form regarding property they owned was used to "brazenly forge" their names and get "a fraudulent $245,000 loan" secured by their real estate.

Gerald and Marilyn Hays, who are represented in Orange County civil court by Costa Mesa attorney Jeffrey Benice, seek sole ownership of the title to their land, $15,000 to cover a notary bond, and an unspecified amount for damages from fraudulent concealment, unfair trade, conversion, civil racketeering and negligence.

The seminar was advertised to teach participants about buying properties in short sale and flipping them for a profit. But, according to the lawsuit, the real purpose was to pull a "fraudulent scheme." Information from questionnaires passed out at the seminar was used to obtain properties, title insurance and loans on unencumbered real estate.

In the case of the Hayses, the suit claims, they went into the seminar owning their property debt-free and soon after found $245,000 in property equity was eaten up by the fraudsters.

Named in the suit are: John Shallup, George G. Grachen and his daughter Katie Grachen, Pete Rossell, Robert Yann, Salem Abbadi, Joyce Kim, James A. Santan, Kaffi Botehsazan, Joanna G. Martinez, Edward Park, Aladdin Alsarairah, Financial and Real Estate Services Inc., Above Board Real Estate Solutions, Jo Cal Investments, United Escrow Co., Orange Coast Title Company of Southern California, Bency 26 LLC, and Merchants Bonding Co.

Neither the defendants nor their legal representatives could be reached for comment.


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