MARTINEZ -- Ken Beasley, a national real estate expert and former Danville resident, came forward Wednesday to say charges brought against him in a suspected real estate scheme were wrong and that he is innocent of any crime.
Contra Costa County prosecutors charged Beasley with felony counts of embezzlement and one charge enhancement alleging excessive loss on Tuesday. The charges carry a potential penalty of up to six years and four months in state prison for Beasley, 67, who now lives in New York.
"I don't care what people say, I tried to help people, I didn't try to hurt them," Beasley said. "I was helping people try to keep their houses, and there is proof of that right and left. I never got a cent."
According to court documents, a New York resident gave Beasley $1.14 million in 2006 to buy three investment properties in Las Vegas. Beasley kept the money for himself, the resident told authorities, and then gave the victim false documents and wired monthly rental income payments to perpetuate the lie.
The victim didn't discover the fraud until years later when an attorney drawing up a will and trust did a title search on the properties, according to the court documents.
Beasley, however, said all claims to hiding money and not properly investing it are false.
"I have always been upfront," he said. "I'm not going to hide from anybody."
Prosecutor Ken McCormick, who specializes in real estate fraud, said he respects Beasley's right to claim innocence but that ultimately it will be up to a jury to decide Beasley's fate.
"I have read the reports, I've seen the evidence, and I've read reports about what he said previously and what victims said," McCormick said. "We are very confident that we charged the right charges and that we have not falsely accused him."
McCormick said Beasley is being sent a notice to appear in court that, if ignored, could result in a warrant for his arrest.
Staff writer Malaika Fraley contributed to this report. Contact Katie Nelson at 925-945-4782 or follow her at Twitter.com/katienelson210.