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in federal court on Thursday, May 9, a San Diego–based real estate developer admitted to swindling 50 victims out of approximately $50 million according to a Department of Justice announcement.

Bradley Holcom, 55, pleaded guilty to committing wire fraud connected to the sale of promissory notes to investors across the country.

The loans allegedly created first-position liens on Arizona commercial and residential developments, giving lenders the opportunity to foreclose and take ownership of the property in the event the borrower defaulted.

But the properties upon which he obtained loans were already encumbered by other debts that had priority over the new loans. Some of the properties had even been sold to a new owner before Holcom's loans were even funded, effectively providing no collateral to the lenders despite his representations to the contrary.

Instead of providing his lenders with a true lien that would allow them to take over a property in the event of nonpayment, Holcom instead gave his lenders a stake that did not allow for the option of foreclosure, leaving his victims out of luck when promised returns failed to materialize.

Holcom is scheduled to be sentenced for his crimes on July 25.

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