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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of California

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Real Estate Developer Pleads Guilty To $50 Million Securities Fraud Scheme

SAN DIEGO – A commercial real estate developer and mortgage broker pleaded guilty today for his role in a $50 million securities fraud scheme.

Bradley Holcom, 55, entered his plea before U.S. District Judge Cathy Ann Bencivengo, admitting that he committed wire fraud in connection with the sale of approximately $50 million worth of promissory notes which he sold to investors located throughout the United States.

According to court documents, Holcom solicited investors to provide funds for the development of raw land for commercial and residential purposes through an investment program he operated called the Trust Deed Investment Program. Holcom admitted that he falsely told investors who purchased notes through the Trust Deed Investment Program that they would receive a first-position lien on a specific piece of property he was developing.

However, as Holcom further admitted, he never provided investors with a lien in the property he was purportedly developing and instead conveyed to investors a lesser interest that did not allow investors to directly foreclose on the property to protect their investment. In addition, he admitted that while he promised investors that their purported lien would be in first position, he subsequently solicited investments for properties that he knew were already encumbered by first position liens.

According to court documents, Holcom also sold properties that were supposedly serving as the security for investors without informing investors that the property they had financed for development was gone. Holcom admitted that in 2008 and 2009, even though his financial condition had seriously deteriorated, he continued to solicit investors for new funds by making misrepresentations about his true financial condition and the manner in which he was using investor money.

As part of his plea, Holcom admitted that his conduct caused approximately $50 million in losses to over 50 victims. Holcom faces a maximum prison sentence of 20 years. Holcom is scheduled to be sentenced on July 25, 2014.

This case was investigated by the FBI’s Phoenix Division – Yuma Resident Agency. The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Henry P. Van Dyck and Deputy Chief Daniel Braun of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section, and by Assistant United States Attorney Mark Pletcher of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California. The Department recognizes the substantial assistance of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

DEFENDANT Case Number: 13-CR-01723-CAB
Bradley Holcom Age: 55 Escondido, CA

Title 18, United States Code, Section 1343 -- Wire Fraud
Maximum penalties: 20 years’ imprisonment, $250,000 fine or twice the gross pecuniary gain or twice the gross pecuniary loss (whichever is greatest), $100 special assessment, 3 years of supervised release, restitution, and forfeiture.


Federal Bureau of Investigation

*Indictments and complaints are not evidence that the defendant committed the crime charged.  All defendants are presumed innocent until the United States meets its burden in court of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.     

Updated July 23, 2015