Attorney Jeffrey Greenberg, a Tuscon lawyer, has pleaded guilty in a $33-million real estate scheme in California that a federal prosecutor described as “extraordinary fraud.”
Greenberg, 66, and Courtland Gettel, 42, of Coronado, California, pleaded guilty May 17 to charges of conspiracy and wire fraud conspiracy in U.S. District Court in the Southern District of California.
As the US Attorney’s release noted:
The conspirators generated the money by taking out huge loans against multi-million dollar homes in La Jolla and Del Mar, then pretending those loans had been paid off in order to secure more loans from new lenders — who were led to believe by forged documentation that the homes were debt-free.
To pull of the scam, Gettel, Greenberg, and their co-conspirators created forged real estate lien “releases” and recorded fraudulent records at the San Diego County Recorder’s Office, wreaking havoc on the chain of title for these homes. They then defaulted on their obligations to repay the loans, leaving the lenders to dispute the validity of their secured interests, and causing millions of dollars in losses from unpaid loans.
The group took out $33.6 million in loans against multi-million dollar homes in La Jolla and Del Mar and then forged documents to fool more lenders into believing the homes were debt-free, which including forging real estate lien releases and related records.
Greenberg, admitted that he used his expertise as a lawyer to generate and record fraudulent records, making it appear that prior loans were paid off, to help close the fraudulent deals. This went on for more than a year, during which time Gettel, Greenberg, and their co-conspirators obtained at least $33.6 million in fraudulent proceeds from no less than eight multi-million dollar fraudulent loans.
Greenberg also pled guilty to participating in an equally massive fraud that occurred in Tucson, Arizona, where he worked for Conix and VCRE. In that scheme, Greenberg admitted that he and his co-conspirators obtained tens of millions of dollars in unearned payments from a real estate financing firm by creating false invoices and expense reports for work purportedly performed on their commercial real estate portfolio. Instead of using the money to refurbish their commercial properties as required, Greenberg and his co-conspirators used the tens of millions of dollars they generated for their own personal use and benefit.
Greenberg also pleaded guilty to what the DOJ called an “equally massive fraud” in Tucson, where he worked for Gettel’s real estate investment company, known as both Conix Inc. and