Suit Charges Investors Fleeced of $86 Million to $106 Million in Ponzi Scheme
San Diego attorney Matthew Powell filed suit yesterday (Oct. 30), charging that a group of real estate operators with a firm named Corporate Funding Financial of America fleeced more than 100 investors of $86 million to $106 million in what wound up being a Ponzi scheme. Powell represents 60 investors of modest means who lost $14 million. Investors with more money are trying to arrange separate settlements with the perpetrators, charges Powell. The company paid interests rates of mainly 14 percent, but sometimes 50 to 100 percent annually, to investors for the purpose of funding developments such as Villas at Mission Hills and Flynn Springs Estates. But in mid-2007 when real estate went south, the company started paying off early investors with money from later investors, says Powell. That would make it a Ponzi. In his suit, Powell also charges racketeering against principals, particularly chief executive Richard Habib and chief marketer Luis Madrid. Powell questions whether the alleged perpetrators actually intended to develop the properties for which they were raising funds. He also has questions about where the money went. The victims were mainly Hispanic. According to Powell, Habib says Madrid is the main culprit. I was not able to reach Habib or Madrid.
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