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Thursday, April 1, 2021

Two people arrested and charged in real estate fraud scheme

RIVERSIDE – A Chula Vista couple is facing multiple felonies in a real estate fraud scheme in which they would target rundown properties and then sell them using fraudulent documents.

 

Brenda Ann Gregory, DOB: 7-30-66; and her husband Angel Alfonso Gutierrez, DOB: 10-21-65, both of Chula Vista, have been charged in case RIF2101107 with five felonies and a white-collar crime enhancement. The charges include recording false documents, grand theft, identity theft, and money laundering.

The Riverside County DA’s Real Estate Fraud Task Force, assisted by the Chula Vista Police Department, served a search warrant in March at a recreational vehicle (RV) park in that San Diego County city. Both defendants were living in an RV at the location and were arrested.

 

The investigation began in September 2020 when the owner of a property in Norco contacted authorities after receiving a courtesy notice from the Riverside County Recorder’s Office notifying him that a grant deed had been recorded on his property. The victim had no knowledge of the grant deed and when he went to his property, he found a “for sale” sign.

 

DA investigators determined that someone had purchased the Norco property, believing it was legitimately for sale. That purchase was for $189,000 with a $20,000 deposit and monthly payments of $1,300.

 

Further investigation revealed similar fraudulent sales and purchases of properties in Arizona and Texas believed to have been part of the same scheme.

 

The payments in the alleged scheme are made to various trusts and sent to a post office box in Garland, Texas. Defendants Gregory and Gutierrez often used the fake names of Joel R. Silva or Jose M. Garcia as trustees of those trusts.

 

The investigation into this case is ongoing and anyone who has conducted transactions with these defendants or made payments to the Song Family Trust or the Amacker Family Trust is asked to contact authorities.

 

If you may be a victim with a property in Riverside County, call the DA’s Real Estate Fraud Hotline at (877) 723-7779. If the property is outside Riverside County, please contact authorities in that area that handle real estate fraud.

 

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Author: John Hall
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