Trial Begins for Agents Involved in Real Estate Scam
Wednesday, March 9, 2011 — Three years after they were indicted in what prosecutors called a massive Las Vegas real estate scam, a May trial has been set for Steven W. Grimm, Eve E. Mazzarella and a codefendant.
Prosecutors in 2008 said Grimm and his wife, Mazzarella, engaged in a scheme in which housing values were inflated and straw purchasers were used in transactions that defrauded banks and funneled money to the defendants.
The defendants have pleaded innocent.
In a second superseding indictment issued by a federal grand jury in Las Vegas last month, Grimm, Mazzarella and Melissa R. Beecroft, a mortgage company manager, were hit with updated charges including conspiracy to commit bank fraud, mail fraud and wire fraud.
The indictment said this conspiracy operated from about 2003 through March 2008.
In their updated indictment, prosecutors are seeking asset forfeitures of up to $107 million on the conspiracy count alone.
The defendants are free awaiting trial and records show Mazzarella has been working as a paralegal at Mazzarella Caldarelli LLP, the San Diego law firm of her father, Mark C. Mazzarella.
Records show the Nevada federal court — which is supervising Eve Mazzarella under a pretrial release order — approved an application in recent months for her to attend a seminar in Hawaii of the Association of Business Trial Lawyers.
She and Grimm also received permission to obtain financing to buy vehicles while Grimm received approval to open a bank account related to his new occupation involving equipment repair and transportation services.
Scores of lawsuits, in the meantime, are pending against the couple in Clark County District Court in Las Vegas. These suits were filed by plaintiffs including investors and homebuyers who say they were harmed by the alleged scheme.
Mazzarella and Grimm gained nationwide attention in 2008 when Bloomberg News covered their story, calling them the “the Bonnie and Clyde of mortgage fraud.”
Mazzarella’s father told Bloomberg at the time: “She was putting money in Las Vegas real estate like everyone else. The targets are going to be higher up the food chain.”
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