Walnut Creek Real Estate Investor Indicted For Fraud
OAKLAND – A federal grand jury in Oakland yesterday returned a two-count indictment charging Benny Chetcuti, Jr. with wire fraud, stemming from Chetcuti’s Walnut Creek, Calif., based real estate investment business, announced United States Attorney Melinda Haag and FBI Special Agent in Charge David J. Johnson.
According to the Indictment, as early as Oct. 2002 and continuing through June 2010, Chetcuti allegedly defrauded private investors who loaned money to him and his business, Chetcuti & Associates. Chetcuti started Chetcuti & Associates in 1998 for the purpose of purchasing homes, renovating them, and selling them within a short time period. Chetcuti financed his business, in part, by obtaining loans from private investors in exchange for promissory notes that were supposed to be secured by interests in real properties. The Indictment alleges that Chetcuti defrauded investors by misrepresenting how much debt was already secured by the properties, falsely promising to record deeds of trust that would have secured the investors’ interests in the properties, directing others to impersonate lenders or title company officers in telephone calls, and forging letters purportedly written by lenders and title company officers.
A summons was issued upon filing of the Indictment. Chetcuti is scheduled to make his initial appearance on April 2, 2014 at 9:30 a.m. before the Honorable Kandis A. Westmore, United States Magistrate Court Judge in Oakland.
The maximum statutory penalty for each count of wire fraud in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1343 is 20 years imprisonment and a fine of $250,000, or twice the gross loss or gain resulting from the offenses, plus restitution and forfeiture, if appropriate. However, any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court only after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.
Andrew S. Huang is the Assistant U.S. Attorney who is prosecuting the case with the assistance of Vanessa Quant. The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Please note, an Indictment contains only allegations against a defendant and, as with all defendants, Benny Chetcuti, Jr. must be presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.