Using the Internet to lure victims, the founders of a South Bay real estate company stole at least $3.5 million from unwitting investors by promising them a generous return on well-maintained properties in other states, prosecutors said Friday.
But many of the properties portrayed as shipshape by Bay Area Equity Group turned out to be dilapidated homes in Detroit, according to the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office. Some were sold to more than one victim; others were never transferred to investors. None generated the "guaranteed" 15 percent return.
The company's founders -- Terrance Brown and Antranik Kabajouzian -- have been charged with multiple felonies, including grand theft and securities fraud.
"Unfortunately, these defendants preyed on many people with promises of unrealistic profits," prosecutor Kathy Wells said. "We are looking for more victims in this case.''
Kabajouzian, 35, of Morgan Hill, was arrested Oct. 22 and is being held in lieu of $3.5 million bail. Brown, 48, is wanted on a $3.5 million warrant.
Prosecutors are asking anyone with information about Brown's whereabouts to contact Investigator Santiago Trejo on weekdays from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 408-808-3757, or call local police.
The District Attorney's Office has established a hotline for criminal complaints about Bay Area Equity Group, Brown or Kabajouzian at 855-350-7232.
Contact Tracey Kaplan at 408-278-3482. Follow her at Twitter.com/tkaplanreport.