General Crime

Benny Chetcuti Jr. Indicted on Alleged Walnut Creek Real Estate Investor Fraud

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A federal jury in Oakland indicted a Walnut Creek real estate investor for fraud on Thursday, a U.S. attorney said. Benny Chetcuti Jr. was indicted on two counts of wire fraud stemming from his real estate business, U.S. Attorney for Northern California Melinda Haag said. The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The indictment alleges that Chetcuti defrauded private investors who loaned money to him for his business between October of 2002 and June of 2010, according to Haag. The federal attorney said that Chetcuti’s business of purchasing homes, renovating them and then selling them to new owners, began in 1998. In order to finance his home flipping business, Chetcuti obtained loans from private investors in exchange for promissory notes.

However, the indictment alleges that the defendant defrauded investors by misrepresenting how much debt was secured by the properties and failed to record deeds of trust that would have secured investors’ interests in the properties, according to Haag. Additionally, Chetcuti was indicted for directing others to impersonate lenders in phone calls and forging letters purportedly written by lenders, Haag said.

Chetcuti has been summoned to make his initial court appearance at 9:30 a.m. on April 2, before Judge Kandis A. Westmore, Haag said. The maximum penalty for each count of wire fraud violation 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, according to the U.S. attorney.

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