Irvine Man Arrested for Straw Buying Real Estate Fraud

March 28, 2013

Irvine, Orange County - An Irvine man was arrested in Huntington Beach on Monday for a real estate fraud scheme known as straw buying following a sting by the FBI and state attorney general's office.

Alexander A. Romaniolis, 48, is facing three counts of mail fraud, a federal crime, after an indictment from a federal grand jury.

It remains unclear if the suspect will face various theft crime charges on the local level.

Irvine real estate fraud attorney Michael L. Guisti explains that straw buying is when a real estate agent convinces a person with good credit, otherwise known as the "straw," to buy a home for another person, because that person wanting to buy a home has poor credit and/or other financial problems. Now while that may not sound too bad on the surface many times the "straw" is a stranger, or even a fictitious individual.

The problem, and thus crime, explains Guisti, is when the person who lives in the home can't afford to pay, and all the credit problems come falling on the "straw" buyer.

In California this kind of real estate fraud is covered under grand theft and forgery laws, but, Guisti says, in this case since the use of the postal service was allegedly used, the suspect is facing mail fraud charges.

The crime of mail fraud is covered under federal code, Title 18, U.S. Code, Section 1341, and, Guisti says, is basically any fraudulent scheme or artifice to intentionally deprive another of money, property or honest services using the United States Postal Service.

Guisti urgently notes that mail fraud is a federal crime, and that means you're facing the federal government, and federal crime charges can result in much stiffer punishments, such as long federal prison sentences and steep fines, which is why it's so important to contact an Orange County federal crimes attorney right away.

One reason a lot of real estate businesses who allegedly committed real estate fraud find themselves in trouble with the federal government is they conduct business in another state, or various states, and by using the U.S. mail and different kinds of electronic media, which is federal wire fraud, to conduct their business, explains Guisti.

Getting back to the issue of straw buying Guisti says one defense tactic is if everybody agreed to this, that a family member or friend would use their good credit to by a home, then there shouldn't be any crime. The problem is when the person living in the home can no longer make payments the true owner might be told by the bank that maybe the real estate agent created a scheme, a straw buying scheme, and they should call authorities and pursue charges. This is one reason why it's important to have a professional Orange County white collar crimes attorney.

Being accused of real estate fraud charges can lead to several problems for you, like theft crime charges, federal charges, and losing your professional license, and that is why it's so important to contact the Orange County real estate fraud crime attorney experts at the Law Offices of Michael L. Guisti right now!

Whether you're being investigated, or have been indicted for real estate fraud, it's so important to contact the Law Offices of Michael L. Guisti right now at, 888-478-8999.

We have over a decade of experience protecting our client's reputation, and helping keeping them out of jail.

So please, call now!