$30M Real Estate Scam Alleged in San Diego


     SAN DIEGO (CN) – Three San Diego men defrauded investors of $30 million in real estate scams they called the Plus Money Premium Return Funds, federal prosecutors say.

     Matthew “Beau” La Madrid, Lance La Madrid and Eric Montiel were charged with conspiracy, mail fraud, wire fraud and bank fraud, in a 29-count indictment.
     Matthew La Madrid, the president and manager of the investment group Plus Money, also was charged with witness tampering and money laundering. He allegedly sent $7.6 million from the Premium Return Funds accounts to an account called Vision Quest Investments, without notifying investors.
     According to the indictment, Plus Money obtained more than $30 million between May 2004 and May 2008, and put the money into three pools, known as Premium Return Fund I, Premium Return Fund II and Premium Return Fund III.
     Plus Money falsely claimed that it operated a “‘covered calls’ stock option trading program and other investment programs involving real estate, falsely promised to use investors’ money to trade in “covered call” stock options and that “the monthly payments investors would receive represented income from their investment,” according to the indictment.
     To get money from investors, the three men caused others to get more than $34 million from lenders, the indictment states. The men allegedly claimed on loan documents that borrowers had income from jobs at business they did not work for, overstated the borrowers’ assets and falsified bank statements.
     According to the indictment, the men moved Plus Money’s computers and records to another office to hide them from the Securities Exchange Commission and to keep investors from discovering the fraud.
     Beau La Madrid, 48, lives in Jamul, Calif.; Lance La Madrid, 50, in El Cajon; and Eric Montiel, 52, in San Diego.
     Five others have pleaded guilty in the scheme: Richard Kassler, Mark and Christine Busby, James Hyatt and Kevin Fallis.

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