We’ve specialized in “boom and bust” economies in the Sierra foothills forever — going back to the gold-rush era.
Real estate is now our “gold,” and its boom and bust cycle is epitomized in the government charges filed against Thomas Hastert of Loan Sense in Grass Valley. This is one of the most egregious cases of alleged loan fraud anywhere, part of a national crackdown.
In February Hastert was charged with 73 criminal counts of embezzlement, securities frand, conspiracy and filing false documents.
Hastert alleged brokered more than 270 hard-money loans in Nevada, Sacramento, Sutter, Butte, Placer and Yolo Counties between September 2004 and September 2007 for real estate development. Hard-money loans typically provide high returns for private investors and are secured through collateral such as real estate.
Now there’s a Hollywood twist: Filmmaker Michael Moore, who is known for his biting satire, has his hands on the information, according to my sources.
Who knows whether Moore will pull the trigger. The filmmaker is in the middle of shooting his next movie. It is expected to focus on the Wall Street abuses that led to the worst financial crisis in decades, according to an email sent to his fans.
This month Moore also is relishing the recent ouster of the latest GM chief executive as part of the Obama administration’s bailout package. His “Roger and Me” movie in 1989, focusing on GM turning Flynt, Mich., into a ghost town, put Moore on the map.
As many of you know, Moore, whose sister Anne has lived here, also has focused on our little neck of the woods. In 2000, in the “Awful Truth,” he took a trip here to explore how “defendants who live in poverty (allegedly) were being denied their 6th Amendment rights.”
“While working at the public defender’s office in Nevada County, Anne saw poor people being railroaded into taking guilty pleas,” Moore alleged. “At first she tried talking to her co-workers, but when that didn’t work she blew the whistle and reported the Defender’s Office to the county board.”
This led to a big shake up in the public defender’s office. People such as Thomas Anderson came into the public defender’s office in the aftermath to help change the culture, and now he’s been elected one of our judges.
As I’ve written, the investigation in the Hastert case is ongoing. Some people expect more “shoes to drop.”
Hard-money loans were common in the “go-go” days, helping to create a boom – and now a bust.
It’s a good yarn for Hollywood — no doubt about that. Lots of colorful anecdotes.
(photo from Wikipedia)