A former Los Angeles police detective who lost millions of dollars given to her by fellow officers and other investors was charged with theft and fraud this week by the California attorney general's office.
It is the second time Darcey Greenfield has faced allegations that she misled investors in a real estate investment scheme. Last year, prosecutors in San Bernardino County brought similar charges.
Prosecutors in the attorney general's white collar crime unit began investigating Greenfield, 41, several months ago, after LAPD investigators presented them with the findings of their own inquiry, according to the attorney general's office.
"This is another unfortunate case where a perpetrator exploited the trust placed in a professional relationship to defraud an investor," said Commissioner of Corporations Jan Lynn Owen, whose office assisted the attorney general in the investigation.
After interviewing several alleged victims and examining her bank records, investigators concluded that Greenfield had lied to investors, according to documents filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court.
Greenfield, who resigned in disgrace in 2011, allegedly told investors their money was being used to help homeowners who were facing foreclosure, court documents said. In reality, she handed the funds over to a convicted felon, who disappeared with the cash, the records say.
Greenfield was arrested on Wednesday after a court appearance on the earlier charges in San Bernardino. She was later released from custody on her own recognizance and is scheduled to appear in court for a preliminary hearing Jan. 29.
Investigators began to scrutinize Greenfield after The Times profiled her financial dealings in a 2010 article. In that story, Greenfield said she began investing in real estate shortly after she joined the LAPD in 1994. Those early purchases and sales of properties were personal deals, but soon evolved into a side business that involved soliciting investments from others. She made grandiose claims, telling investors they would receive double-digit returns within months, according to authorities, interviews with investors and documents obtained by The Times.
In the case brought by the attorney general's office, Greenfield faces nine charges of securities fraud and grand theft involving the $865,000 she solicited from four investors. Total losses were probably far greater, however. Over several months in 2007 and 2008, Greenfield told The Times, she collected about $2 million from investors. San Bernardino County officials put the total amount raised from Los Angeles County residents at $3 million.
At least 13 LAPD employees gave funds to Greenfield, including four detectives and five supervising sergeants, according to court records. Police officials suspect that even more department employees were involved, because groups of officers probably pooled their money and invested under one name.
Greenfield told investors she was swindled by Leroy Dowd, a 70-year-old bishop of a South Los Angeles church, according to court documents. She gave Dowd cash to catch up on late mortgage and tax payments on his church and several other properties, she said. In exchange, Dowd promised he would repay her with interest when the properties sold or the mortgages were refinanced.
Dowd was eventually arrested on unrelated fraud charges, but disappeared after being released from custody. The attorney general's office declined to comment on Dowd or whether it was pursuing charges against him.
Greenfield could not be reached for comment. In an earlier interview, however, she told The Times she was upfront with investors about her dealings with Dowd — a claim at least some of them deny.