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Ventura County News Roundup

SIMI VALLEY : Man Arrested in House Swindle Case

December 04, 1992|PATRICK McCARTNEY

A Simi Valley man who had avoided arrest for two months after being indicted for allegedly conning a woman into signing over her home has been arrested by U. S. postal inspectors, authorities said Thursday.

Bernard Gross, 47, was arrested Wednesday in Pasadena, where he had gone to complain to postal authorities about their efforts to track him down, said Mike Qualls, a spokesman forthe Los Angeles district attorney's office.

Gross was indicted Oct. 7 on one count of grand theft and three counts of civil infractions in connection with the purported swindle, in which he promised to pay up to $15,000 to save the home of a Huntington Park woman from foreclosure.

Instead, Gross persuaded the unnamed woman to secure the signatures of her two children--the legal owners--on a form, which turned out to be a grant deed, Qualls said.

"The victim, who never received any money in the deal, was unaware she had signed over her home to the defendant until he began demanding that she pay him rent to continue living there," said Los Angeles City Atty. Jim Hahn.

Gross was referred to the woman as a foreclosure consultant by someone who knew of her financial difficulties.

Gross was doing business under the names B&S Pacific and North American Investments, Qualls said.

After a warrant was issued for Gross' arrest, investigators were unable to locate him at his West Los Angeles business or his Simi Valley home, Qualls said.

Gross was taken to Los Angeles County Jail, where he was in custody Thursday in lieu of $100,000 bail, said Los Angeles Deputy City Atty. Ellen Pais.

Each of the four misdemeanor counts carries a maximum penalty of one year in jail, and fines ranging from $1,000 to $10,000.

The investigation and arrest of Gross were independent of a campaign against real estate fraud approved in September by the California Legislature, Pais said.

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