An East Bay real estate broker and former Lafayette resident surrendered to federal investigators Monday after his indictment for an elaborate scheme to defraud homeowners and mortgage holders during the sale of two properties in Danville and San Francisco.
Robert Jacobsen, 67, was charged in an indictment returned Monday with wire fraud and with engaging in financial transactions involving criminally derived proceeds, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Jacobsen, a former Lafayette resident, had been initially indicted on Nov. 5, according to federal prosecutors, and surrendered to federal agents on Monday.
Investigators alleged that Jacobsen was behind a complex scheme that netted him more than $1.6 million through the sale of two Bay Area properties after he allegedly created a shadow corporation to gain control of homes with mortgage liens then sued the bogus corporation – claiming that the mortgage liens were invalid.
Prosecutors said Jacobsen controlled both the plaintiff and the defendant in these lawsuits, instructing both sides to enter into stipulated judgments and “resolving” the case by declaring the mortgage liens invalid through the use of intermediaries.\
Jacobsen filed the completed court agreements with the county recorder’s office, further creating the illusion that the liens had been actually ruled invalid, prosecutors said.
Prosecutors said Jacobsen then sold homes in Danville and San Francisco to unsuspecting buyers without paying off their loans, allegedly laundering money derived from the sales through multiple bank accounts and ultimately paying himself.
If convicted, Jacobsen could serve up to 30 years in prison and would have to pay fines and restitution.
This case is the result of a two-year investigation conducted by various agencies, prosecutors said.