Below is an article about a man who stole foreclosed properties from large lending institutions in Southern California. Mr. Boucher identified REO properties in Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino Counties and executed grant deeds as the lender's "authorized representative." In many instances, the individuals he deeded the properties to were the very persons upon whom the lender had previously foreclosed.
Upland man accused of $4.5 million in real estate fraud
Reprinted with permission from the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin
UPLAND — An Upland man was arrested at his home July 28, accused of defrauding banks and financial businesses by illegally filing fraudulent grant deeds on properties throughout San Bernardino County.
David Alan Boucher, 56, is accused of 63 felony counts of filing false documents, forgery and identity theft according to a news release provided by the San Bernardino County District Attorney's office.
If convicted he faces a maximum sentence of 16 years and 4 months in state prison.
Boucher fraudulently transferred approximately 20 properties in San Bernardino County, representing a property value of approximately $4.5 million dollars according to the release.
Following his arrest, investigators seized records, weapons, $127,000 in cash, as well as silver coins and bars at his Upland residence and business in Bloomington.
"This is a disgraceful crime because of the financial impact that it has had on the victims in this case," said San Bernardino County District Attorney Michael Ramos. "Enough is enough. Let it be known that if you come into our county and try to defraud our citizens, we will go after you in pursuit of justice."
Boucher would find properties that have been sold at foreclosure auctions and currently belong to a lender.
Authorities discovered he fraudulently signed grant deeds as the "Authorized Representative" of the bank, who acquired the foreclosed home.
After the documents were notarized, Boucher or one of his representatives recorded the grant deeds at the San Bernardino County Recorder's Office. In some cases, after the fraudulent transfer of title, hard money loans are obtained on the properties.
Investigators believe there may be additional victims.
If you suspect that you have been victimized by David Alan Boucher, or any of his associates, please contact the District Attorney's Real Estate Fraud Unit at 909.891.3519. "I would just encourage anybody out there who may have fallen victim to this scheme to come forward and contact our office so we can ensure justice is served," said Ramos.
In February 2012 Eldred Sotello, a Western States underwriter, prepared confidential memorandum #2265 which identified Boucher and many other individuals and entities with whom he collaborated. Eldred also directed an email alert to be issued to the Company's operations and agents in Arizona, California and Nevada.
While this likely prevented or stopped numerous transactions handled by the Company (and potential claims), Boucher continued to file his fraudulent recordings, deeding properties back to owners who had lost their home to foreclosure and to others in exchange for money.
In June 2012, another suspected fraudster requested Lynn Koniecki, title operations manager for Fidelity National Title's Long Beach Office, to record, as an accommodation, a couple of Boucher's fraudulent grant deeds. Because of Lynn's attention to detail, she detected the fraudulent documents and declined the request.
Further, rather than return the counterfeit grant deeds back to the fraudster, Lynn notified the police, who took them as evidence of a crime. Since Lynn's initial contact with law enforcement, the Company has had additional follow up communications with the authorities and provided them with a great deal of information from the public records.
This is a remarkable example of how our Company's underwriting and title operations communicate to alert our offices and agents of suspected fraud and work with law enforcement officials to stop this kind of criminal activity. As a result of Lynn's actions to protect the Company and the public, she has been rewarded $1,000 and received a letter of recognition on behalf of the Company.
This reward marks a milestone of $100 grand paid out to employees and agents who were smart enough, brave enough and diligent enough to stop a fraud or forgery in their transactions. It is fitting it was paid to such a heroic and well–tenured associate as Lynn.