Coronado businessman Courtland Gettel and Arizona lawyer Jeffrey Greenberg pleaded guilty this week to pulling off a real estate scam that took in $30 million.
They took out big loans against expensive homes in La Jolla and Del Mar, then pretended the loans had been paid off so they could get more money from new lenders who were led to believe through forged documents that the homes were debt-free.
Gettel and Greenberg forged real estate lien releases and recorded phony records at the San Diego County Recorder's office, muddying up the chain of title for the homes. Then they defaulted on their obligations to repay the loans, causing millions of dollars of losses from unpaid loans. Greenberg pleaded guilty to running a similar scam in Tucson.
Gettel admitted that he and a partner acquired high-end homes in La Jolla and Del Mar, telling lenders they intended to use them as rental properties. Actually, they and their families lived in the homes.
Gettel's LinkedIn profile, meanwhile, declares that he's CEO of "Variant/Conix" and has "Managed the acquisition and sales of over a billion worth of distressed properties..."
In a telephone interview with Reader reporter Matt Potter two years ago, Gettel hung up after being asked why he had contributed to an election fund for attorney Robert Brewer, then running a campaign to unseat district attorney Bonnie Dumanis.
"Why are you asking these questions?" Gettel asked Potter. "We give anonymously."
Potter then told him state disclosure laws didn't allow anonymous political giving. Gettel responded, "Way too many questions, buddy. I wish you the best," and ended the call.