A Palo Alto man pleaded guilty Wednesday (Dec. 7) in federal court for a real estate investment scheme and could face 20 years in prison.
Richard F. Tipton, 62, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, according to U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag. Two other defendants, James Stanley Ward, 65, of Delaware, Ohio, and Edward George Locker, 36, of Highland Heights, Ohio, were also indicted and pleaded guilty on Tuesday (Dec. 6).
Tipton, Ward and Locker admitted they deceived investors in Mountain View-based private moneylender Jim Ward & Associates, Inc., and its successor, JSW Financial, Inc. Using funds obtained from investors, the defendants arranged private money loans to borrowers who built single-family homes.
The men offered investors the opportunity to invest in fractional interests in the loans and in the Blue Chip Realty Fund, LLC, and Shoreline Investment Fund. The companies generated and provided documents to investors that represented the funds made and invested in loans that were secured by deeds of trust on real property, but Tipton and the others knew that those representations were false, according to the indictment. The companies did not secure investments in either fund.