LOS ANGELES — A South Bay real estate broker pleaded not guilty Monday to federal charges of loan and bank fraud in connection with secret loans he allegedly arranged for his clients.
"This has been part of a fairly long effort focusing on the South Bay real estate community because there's been a lot of corruption. We've done more than 10 cases," said Deputy U.S. Atty. Pamela Johnston, who is prosecuting the case.
Manhattan Beach resident Lloyd Anastasi, 60, is charged with 19 counts of attempting to commit fraud against Citibank, World Savings and Home Savings between 1990 and 1994. Anastasi's lawyer, Mark Heaney, did not return phone calls.
Cheryl Munder, 44, an escrow officer with King Harbor Escrow and a resident of Manhattan Beach, also pleaded not guilty to participating in the scheme.
A plea of not guilty was also entered on behalf of Anastasi Realtors.
According to the grand jury indictment, the firm promoted the sale of homes built and held by a construction company owned by Anastasi's brother. Bank loans were procured for the properties although the purchasers put up little or no money for down payments.
Such arrangements were illegal, however, because the banks were not informed that the buyers had not contributed cash toward the properties.
Munder's lawyer, Brad Brunon, said it was not his client's responsibility to determine who was putting the money down. "She was simply a stakeholder and not an investigator," he said.