Temecula, CA (Jan. 14, 2007) -- The Temecula law firm of Ackerman, Cowles & Lindsley filed a 1.2 billion dollar claim against what are alleged to be the perpetrators of a vast real estate and currency exchange scheme taking place in Southern California.
Riverside County Superior Court Case No. RIC463483 (Anonymous Investor v. Jovane Investments, et al.) was filed by an investor who claims to have suffered $3,000,000 in damages on her case alone. The plaintiff seeks to have the matter certified as a class action later this year because there are another alleged 400 investors in the alleged scheme.
The amended complaint, filed on January 12, 2007, alleges that the operators of the Jovane Investment firm of Murrieta, and related businesses, including Stonewood Consulting, Inc., Pacific Wealth Management LLC (Nevada), Oetting Enterprises, and Sunburst Financial Systems, Inc., engaged in a real estate scheme involving perhaps as many as 5000 home loans in the Southern California region. The defendants are alleged to have incited members of the general public. members of the military, and nursing staff at Rancho Springs Community Hospital in Southern California, to get involved in a real estate business whereby "investors" could each become the owners of multiple residential properties throughout the Temecula Valley and Northern San Diego County.
It is alleged in the complaint that defendants allegedly involved in the scheme would artificially inflate the values of the homes, complete 125% loan to value mortgages in certain cases, give escrow kickbacks to sellers who received as much as $100,000 more than an asking price, and sell the investors on the idea of giving up excess proceeds out of the sale to investment companies for a great profit over a period of years. In some cases, $50-60k-a-year salaried employees had mortgage obligations that were more than $20,000.00 a month because they "owned" 5-8 homes. The defendant companies are alleged to have taken money from other investors to pay the mortgages on behalf of plaintiff and others. The scheme is alleged to be a traditional Ponzi scheme.
Additionally, other investors were alleged to have been duped into buying into Iraqi dinar investments where the alleged victims would pay more than sixty times the actual value of the dinars. The victims were allegedly not told about the true value of the dinars and the dinars were allegedly never delivered to the victims.
The allegations were referred to the Riverside County District Attorney's office back in November of 2006. However, according to lead counsel, Richard D. Ackerman, "I am quite certain that the district attorney's office is swamped with thousands of criminal cases and simply has to allocate investigation resources toward violent crime at this time. Justice will eventually prevail. Unfortunately, however, if action is not taken soon, our entire Southern California economy may suffer as a result of the type of practices alleged by the many victims in our case."
All told, it is alleged that the damage to investors, lenders, the county tax rolls, Southern California neighborhoods, and others is far in excess of the 1.2 billion dollars cited in the complaint.
The case has been assigned to Judge Dallas Holmes of the downtown Riverside Superior Court in Riverside, California, for trial. The plaintiff intends on working with alleged victim-lenders and governmental agencies in an effort to prevent hundreds of foreclosures and additional damage as a result of the alleged fraud. The victim lenders are alleged to include Bay Capital Mortgage, Community First Bank, GMAC Mortgage, Suntrust Mortgage, Aurora Loan Services, Home Eq Servicing, and SLS Loan Servicing. Numerous credit card companies are alleged to be affected by the currency scheme as well.
Defendant Pacific Wealth Management LLC and defendant Maurice McLeod, a principal of Pacific Wealth Management LLC, have already been ordered by this same judge to stop all investments activities in California under the name of Pacific Wealth Management LLC. The related case is captioned Pacific Wealth Management LLC v. Pacific Wealth Management LLC, Superior Court of California, Riverside Case No. RIC462505. The injunction order was entered on January 9, 2007.
SOURCE: Ackerman, Cowles & Lindsley