From the U-T:
California real estate regulators are seeking to revoke the license of Michael Monaco, a Rancho Bernardo real estate broker. The Department of Real Estate filed a 15-page accusation against Monaco and one of his companies, Sub 500 Mortgage Inc., late Tuesday.
The state action lists a number of other allegations, saying his “concealment and misrepresentations made it possible for (Monaco) to embezzle, convert or otherwise misappropriate (his client’s) investment.” Specifically, the state action alleges:
• that in 2008, Monaco agreed to service a $115,000 investment secured by a property in San Diego, then later admitted to embezzling the funds and signed a promissory note to repay the money but failed to make those payments.
• that in 2007, Monaco agreed to service a $90,000 investment secured by a property in Meadow Vista, Calif., then arranged for a payoff of the loan the next year and failed to alert the investor.
• that in 2006, Monaco agreed to service a $352,000 loan against a property in Hawaii, then the next year he arranged for the loan balance to be paid off, but kept the money rather than pay it to the California investors who held the deed.
Monaco said Tuesday that he had not seen the accusation. When read portions of the document and told about specific allegations, he said he did not know any of the alleged victims.
“None of those names even sound familiar to me,” he said in a brief telephone interview. “You do 7,000 or so transactions and some of them are going to be disgruntled.”
Monaco, 46, was first licensed to sell homes and mortgages by the Department of Real Estate in 1985. In 1990, he was awarded a broker’s license. He has no public record of any discipline.
“All I’m doing is trying to help people, but it isn’t turning out to be as rewarding as I thought it would be,” Monaco said. “I deny embezzling any money from these people, or anybody.”
This story started here, where the U-T outlined several pending lawsuits against Monaco, and noted that of hundreds of loan-mod candidates from whom Monaco took money, none had received their loan modification.
“Our fees are for an evaluation to see if we can do the file,” Monaco said. Now he is enrolling homeowners in a different program proposing that clients sign over their homes so Monaco can lease them back to their owners for a lower monthly payment.
Becerra, the retired SDG&E supervisor, said he owes close to $900,000 on his five-acre spread that he bought in 2005 toward the top of the market, and it’s worth hundreds of thousands less. He never got his loan modified, but he did receive a phone call from Investors Finance seeking $15,000 more so the company could buy his home and lease it back to him.
“They said that would prepay three months of payments,” said Becerra, who rejected the offer.
Three former salespeople said they never closed a single transaction. They asked not to be identified, for fear of reprisal.
Monaco, who operated at least four different companies out of five addresses in recent years, chalks up the litigation to his business volume.
“I’ve done more than 20,000 transactions,” Monaco said. “Anytime you do that many deals you’re going to get some people who are upset.”