An East Bay real estate broker faces charges in connection with an elaborate scheme to defraud homeowners and mortgage holders, including through the sale of a Danville home, federal prosecutors said Monday.
Robert Jacobsen, 67, was charged in an indictment returned Monday with wire fraud and with engaging in financial transactions involving criminally derived proceeds, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
Jacobsen, a former Lafayette resident, had been initially indicted on Nov. 5, but hadn't surrendered to federal agents until Monday in San Francisco, federal prosecutors said.
Federal prosecutors accuse Jacobsen of being involved in a scheme that netted him more than $1.6 million through the sale of two homes, one in Danville and the other in San Francisco.
Authorities allege Jacobsen's scheme began when he created a company called American Brokers' Conduit Corporation, which was not related to an existing company known simply as American Brokers' Conduit.
Federal prosecutors said he gained control of homes with mortgage liens that secured loans through the real American Brokers' Conduit before suing his own phony company in court, claiming that the mortgage liens were invalid.
He allegedly controlled both the plaintiff and the defendant in these lawsuits, and instructed both sides to enter into stipulated judgments, resolving the case by declaring the mortgage liens invalid, prosecutors said.
To accomplish this scheme, Jacobsen used intermediaries, prosecutors said.
He filed the completed court agreements in the county recorder's office, giving the appearance that the liens had been actually ruled invalid, prosecutors said.
Prosecutors allege that Jacobsen then sold homes to unsuspecting buyers without paying off the loans on the homes, and laundered the proceeds of these sales to himself through multiple bank accounts.
Between the two charges he faces, Jacobsen could serve up to 30 years in prison if convicted as well as paying fines and restitution.
This case is the result of a two-year investigation conducted by various agencies, prosecutors said.
Jacobsen could not be immediately reached for a comment.