11/29/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 11/29/2021 18:11
OAKLAND - California Attorney General Rob Bonta today announced the indictment and arraignment of the owner of Downkicker, Inc. for allegedly running a fraudulent real estate investment scheme. As a result of the alleged 13-month scam, seven victims lost over $1.3 million. On October 29, 2021, a special statewide criminal grand jury indicted the defendant on 38 counts, including one count of operating a fraudulent securities scheme, 19 counts of securities fraud, 17 counts of grand theft, and one count of elder abuse. He was arraigned today in San Diego County Superior Court.
"Investing may involve various risks, but being swindled by unqualified individuals should not be one of them," said Attorney General Bonta, "We are grateful today to the DOJ's Bureau of Investigation and Department of Financial Protection and Innovation, as well as the United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of California, and the Santa Clara District Attorney's Office for their assistance and continued partnership."
An investigation by the California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation found that the defendant, through Downkicker, allegedly offered his private clients an opportunity to invest in various real estate projects. During this time, he presented himself as a successful investor and contractor, but failed to disclose to his victims facts that his investors had a right to know - including, that both he and the companies owned and run by him had gone bankrupt, that he had been successfully sued multiple times, that both the Internal Revenue Service and California Franchise Tax Board had issued liens against him for failure to pay taxes, and that his contractor's license had expired in 2008.
Instead of investing his victims' funds according to the terms of the investment contracts, the defendant in many instances took his victims' money and walked away from the projects. The defendant also abandoned multiple projects, resulting in the foreclosure of those properties. As a result of his alleged fraud, the defendant's seven victims lost $1,363,809.80.
DOJ's Special Prosecutions Section will handle the prosecution.
It is important to note that a criminal indictment contains charges that are only allegations against a person. The defendant is presumed innocent unless or until proven guilty.
A copy of the indictment is available here.