Episode 41: Real Estate Fraud: Successful Jury Trial During COVID-19 And Fraud Awareness 

Description: Discussion on a real estate fraud case that went to jury trial in the age of the pandemic, the impact the case had on the victims and tips to avoid becoming a real estate fraud victim.  Guests are DA Deputy District Attorney Sam Nong, DA Investigator Jason Halstead and fraud victims Carolyn, Maria and Eman.

Show Notes:  This episode is part of a series highlighting successful jury trials held in the age of the COVID-19 pandemic as well as an effort to raise awareness about fraud during International Fraud Awareness Week.

Sam and Jason introduce themselves and explain their roles within the Real Estate Fraud Unit.  They also provide background on what kinds of cases they investigate and prosecute as well as how these cases are reported.

Sam and Jason talk through the case of People vs. Shaun Smith and Peter Halo by providing the facts in the case, including the crimes committed and the victims they targeted.

Some of the victims in this case, Carolyn, Maria and Eman, then introduce themselves and share what happened to them, how they were victimized by the defendants and the impact it had on them and their families.

Sam and Jason talk through the prosecution of this case – from the initial investigation and filing of charges, to jury trial and sentencing.  They also discussed holding the jury trial during COVID-19 and how things were done differently to keep everyone safe through the court process.   They brought up some challenges and inspirational aspects that came about from the experience.

Carolyn, Maria and Eman shared how their thoughts and feelings when the defendants were convicted and sentenced as well as having the jury trial under unprecedented circumstances.

The group offers tips and alerts to help others avoid becoming victims to similar fraud scams.

The discussion closes with silver linings, including how the victims developed friendships with each other and the prosecution team.

Resources:

Press release: People vs. Shaun Smith and Peter Halo

For more information on Real Estate Fraud and to report suspected fraud, visit:  https://www.sacda.org/in-the-courtroom/real-estate-fraud/

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