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Two Charged in $3.5 million Real Estate Scam

Angel Bronsgeest, a 55 year old woman from Lake Forest, plead guilty on Monday to federal charges of being involved in a real estate scam that cost Southern California investors $3.5 million, according to the United States Attorney’s Office.

Bronsgeest admitted that she, along with Shawn Watkins, a 46 year old man from Utah, would allegedly solicit the victims at Orange County hotel seminars and ask them to invest in their company, The Equity Growth Group. The two claimed that their company managed hundreds of properties, generating income from their rents, which was used to buy new properties. The investors were told they would be getting interest payments and that their money was secured by collateral through filing deeds of property trusts.

“Investor money was not used to acquire new properties, nor was it secured by collateral, and many victims did not receive interest payments. In fact, money that was paid to some victims as purported interest or a return on their investment came from investments made by other victims,” the Attorney’s Office said in a statement.

In September 2016, Watkins turned himself into Orange County and was arraigned. He is set to go to trial on August 1. If he is convicted he faces a maximum of 180 years in federal prison.

Bronsgeest, who is scheduled to be sentenced on December 4, faces a maximum of 20 years in federal prison for her wire fraud charge.

If you or someone you love is suspected of fraud, call Orange County criminal defense lawyer Staycie R. Sena at (949) 477-8088 for a consultation now.