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Lafayette man orchestrated fake lawsuits, duped homeowners

SAN FRANCISCO — A Lafayette man who created a scheme to rip off homeowners and mortgage holders by orchestrating fake lawsuits pleaded guilty to one count each of wire fraud and money laundering on Wednesday, authorities said.
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Robert Jacobsen, 69, admitted that over a 12-month period from 2012 to 2013, he carried out a scheme to sell homes to buyers who were duped into believing the homes had no liens or any other levy from creditors or individuals, according to a statement from U.S. Attorney Brian J. Stretch. U.S. District Judge Maxine M. Chesney will sentence Jacobsen on Nov. 15.
According to the plea agreement, Jacobsen admitted that he identified homes with mortgage deeds of trust that were recorded to benefit an entity called American Brokers Conduit. A deed of trust holds a property as security for a loan.
Jacobsen also acknowledged that he then registered a phony company called American Brokers Conduit Corporation and hired an attorney to file lawsuits against it. In those lawsuits, Jacobsen claimed that mortgages that had been originated by the legitimate ABC were invalid, authorities said.
In essence, authorities said, Jacobsen controlled both sides of the lawsuit and the attorneys entered into stipulated judgments agreeing that mortgage deeds of trust were invalid. Those judgments were entered into county recorder’s offices, giving the appearance that the deeds of trust were legally invalidated, authorities said.
In the plea, Jacobsen admitted that after the judgments, he sold a Danville home for $540,000 and a San Francisco home for $1.2 million and that he used the proceeds to pay for a 54-foot Hylas sailboat. The home sales were fraudulent, because in actuality, the deeds had not been invalidated, authorities said.
The government seized the boat in November 2015.
A federal grand jury indicted Jacobsen on 13 counts of wire fraud and nine counts of money laundering on Dec. 5, 2015.

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