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News Release

Wednesday, November 7, 2001

Media Relations

Detectives Nab Crooked Real Estate Broker in Shady Refinancing Deals

Los Angeles: The Los Angeles Police Department's Financial Crimes Division is investigating a real estate fraud, which involved a licensed broker. With the continuing drop in interest rates, homeowners are in a rush to refinance their homes. But instead of saving themselves money, some Los Angeles City residents were robbed by a shady real estate broker.

On September 4, 2001, Detective Nick Spathopoulos obtained a felony warrant for Gary Ronald King. King, who was a licensed real estate broker, defrauded two elderly individuals and one handicapped person. King secured loans for the victims to refinance their homes. Days before escrow closed, King forged documents that directed the escrow company to disperse some of the proceeds due each victim, to himself. King then fled the Los Angeles Area.

King was arrested on the felony warrant on October 24, 2001, in Tampa, Florida. King waived extradition and was transported back to Los Angeles on November 5, 2001, by Detective Spathopoulos and his partner, Detective Frank Caingcoy. King is scheduled to be arraigned in Division 30 of the Criminal Court Building on Wednesday November 7, 2001 at 8:30 a.m.

The Real Estate Fraud Unit (REFU) was established on February 13, 2000. REFU investigates real estate fraud cases on a City-wide basis. Real estate fraud cases commonly involve Identity Theft and preying on elderly or unsophisticated victims. Currently, four detectives are assigned to the REFU. In Fiscal Year 2000-2001, REFU opened 51 investigations. Twelve cases were filed by the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office. There were eleven suspects arrested and resulted in ten convictions. The total monetary loss exceeded $20,000,000.00. The REFU is part of the Los Angeles County Real Estate Fraud Task Force.

For further information contact Financial Crimes Division, Real Estate Fraud Unit at 213-847-2749.

This press release was prepared by Public Information Officer Jason Lee, Media Relations Section, 213-485-3586.