For release on November 1, 2013
Real Estate Fraud Unit
SOUTH BAY COMPANY OFFICIALS CHARGED WITH FRAUDULENT INVESTMENT SCHEME
Two officials of a South Bay Area real estate investment company have been charged with grand theft and securities fraud, suspected of stealing and fraudulently misusing millions of dollars of their clients’ money. The scheme included investing unwitting clients’ money into dilapidated homes in Detroit, some of which they didn’t own.
Terrance Brown and Antranik Kabajouzian, co-founders of the Bay Area Equity Group, are charged with multiple felonies. Brown, 48, is wanted on a $3.5 million warrant. Kabajouzian, 35, of Morgan Hill, was arrested on Oct. 22 and is being held in lieu of $3.5 million bail.
The amount of loss to their victims has been calculated at $3.5 million, so far.
“We are looking for more victims in this case,’’ prosecutor Katharina Wells said. “Unfortunately, these defendants preyed on many people with promises of unrealistic profits.”
Kabajouzian and Brown allegedly induced individuals to invest in out-of-state properties, representing that they were habitable, completely rehabilitated and occupied. They guaranteed a 15 percent rate of return.
In reality, many of the properties were located in the depressed real estate market of Detroit. The properties had not been rehabilitated. Many were empty, uninhabitable, and vandalized. Some had been condemned. Title was not transferred to certain investors as promised. Some properties were sold simultaneously to other investors.
If anyone has any information about Brown’s current whereabouts, please contact District Attorney Investigator Santiago Trejo weekdays from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. at (408) 808-3757. If you see Brown, whose photograph is included in this release, please contact your local police department immediately.
The Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office has established a dedicated hotline to receive criminal complaints from members of the public concerning Bay Area Equity Group, Brown, and Kabajouzian. Those who wish to report a criminal complaint regarding a loss can call the hotline at 1 (855) 350-7232. Callers will be instructed to leave their contact information. Those who do will be contacted by the Office of the District Attorney about their complaint.