Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Thomas Tarbutton, Newport Beach, a fugitive extradited from Panama on $2.9 million ponzi real estate fraud scheme

 Thomas Tarbutton, Newport Beach, a fugitive extradited from Panama on $2.9 million ponzi real estate fraud scheme

Posted by CotoBlogzz

Rancho Santa Margarita, CA  - Thomas Franklin Tarbutton,  a fugitive "hard money" lender has been extradited back to Orange County from Panama for embezzling nearly $3 million from investors in a Ponzi real estate fraud scheme.

Tarbutton, 54, Newport Beach, is charged with 29 felony counts including grand theft and forgery, and sentencing enhancements and allegations for loss over $100,000, property loss over $3.2 million, and aggravated white collar crime. He I is being held on $2 million bail and must prove that the money is from a legal and legitimate source before posting bond. Tarbutton is scheduled to be arraigned tomorrow, Thursday, Dec. 19, 2013, in Department CJ-1, Central Jail, Santa Ana.

According to the Orange County District Attorney's (OCDA) office, between 2004 and 2010, Tarbutton is accused of operating Villa Capital Inc. as a "hard money" lender by soliciting money from private investors for borrowers looking for funds from non-bank lenders. He is accused of defrauding nine people in a Ponzi real estate fraud scheme.

Tarbutton is accused of embezzling from his private investors by keeping the money they lent for borrowers and not funding the loans as promised. He is accused of providing his victims with fraudulent and forged real estate documents from the Orange County Clerk-Recorder Department showing that they were lien holders on property deeds. He is accused of supplying investors with false and forged mortgage payments and fraudulent documents of investment of the mortgage payments. Tarbutton is accused of supplying investors with small interest payments using funds from their initial investment to prevent them from discovering that the loans had not been repaid. He is accused of stopping all payments when the real estate market collapsed.

The fraud was reported by four victims to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in October 2010.  The FBI, with assistance from the Orange County District Attorney (OCDA) Investigators, investigated this case.

In October 2011, charges were filed against Tarbutton and a $2 million warrant was issued for his arrest. The defendant is accused of fleeing the country, ultimately living in Brazil. In December 2013, Tarbutton is accused of flying from Brazil to Panama. He was detained by Panamanian authorities on the Orange County warrant on Dec. 14, 2013, attempting to cross the border from Panama to Costa Rica. Panamanian officials returned Tarbutton to Los Angeles International Airport to the custody of the FBI and OCDA on Dec. 17, 2013.

The investigation is ongoing. Anyone with additional information or who believes they have been a victim is encouraged to contact Supervising District Attorney Investigator Eric Akerlind at (714) 347-8691.

Senior Deputy District Attorney Pete Pierce of the Major Fraud Unit is prosecuting this case.

1 comment:

Karen OConnell said...

I was one of the investors, in my group alone it was $30, it's been really hard on us, relieved he was finally found.