Real Estate Fraudster Faces Hard Time

SAN DIEGO (CN) - A commercial real estate developer from Escondido faces up to 20 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to a $50 million securities fraud.
     Bradley Holcom, 55, pleaded guilty Thursday to wire fraud. He admitted he fraudulently sold $50 million in promissory notes to investors nationwide in a scam he called the Trust Deed Investment Program, the U.S. Attorney's Office said in a statement.
     He admitted that he promised them first-position liens on properties he claimed to be developing, but conveyed them lesser interests that did not allow them to foreclose to protect their investments, and also solicited investments for properties he knew were already encumbered by first-position liens.
     He also sold properties that supposedly were serving as security, without telling investors that the property they had financed was being sold, prosecutors said.
     He admitted in his plea that he socked more than 50 investors for more than $50 million in losses. He will be sentenced on July 25.