A federal grand jury in Oakland returned an indictment on March 28th charging Benny Chetcuti, Jr. with two counts of federal wire fraud stemming from his California-based real estate investment business. If convicted, Chetcuti faces a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in prison, a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross loss or gain resulting from the offenses, plus restitution and forfeiture.
The indictment alleges that Chetcuti defrauded private investors who loaned money to him or his business, Chetcuti & Associates, in a scheme that ran from October of 2002 to June of 2010. The federal attorney said that Chetcuti’s business of purchasing homes, renovating them, and them selling them within a short period of time, began in 1998. In order to finance his business, Chetcuti obtained loans from private investors in exchange for promissory notes.
Chetcuti allegedly misled investors by lying about how much debt was already secured by the properties. Additionally, he was indicted for failing to record deeds of trust that would have secured investors’ interests in these properties, directing others to impersonate lenders or title company officers in telephone calls, and forging letters purportedly written by lenders.
Chetcuti is expected to make his initial court appearance this week before Judge Kandis A. Westmore.
Assistant United States Attorney Andrew S. Huang is prosecuting this case with the assistance of Vanessa Quant. The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.