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After defrauding investors out of $24 million, a California man admitted in court this week that he ran a massive real estate Ponzi scheme, HousingWire staffer Ben Lane reports.

Seth Depiano, who pleaded guilty to mail fraud, wire fraud, and money laundering in connection with running the Ponzi scheme, promised investors that he would use their money to purchase residential properties and either manage the properties for rental income or flip the properties and resell them for a profit, Lane explains.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, in many cases, Depiano used documents that falsely represented high occupancy rates to promote the properties to investors.

Often, Depiano did not have the authority to buy or sell the properties in question and misled his investors with fraudulent documents that misrepresented the properties’ actual ownership.

In fact, some of the properties Depiano marketed to investors did not actually exist.

He frequently used the money, court documents show, to pay his personal expenses, fund his gambling activities, and pay for the settlement of those same investors’ civil lawsuits against him.

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